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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota will reclaim its title as the world’s top-selling car maker in 2012 as it pulls away from General Motors and Volkswagen, who are locked in a fierce battle for second place.

The Japanese manufacturing giant remains on track to eclipse its 9.37 million sales record of 2007, targeting in excess of 9.75 million units for 2012.

The fight between last year’s winner, General Motors, and rising powerhouse Volkswagen is guaranteed to go down to the wire, with Bloomberg reporting the two manufacturers are separated by less than one per cent heading into the final weeks of the year.

In the first three quarters of 2012, GM sold 6.95 million vehicles – just 50,000 clear of VW – while Toyota led the way on 7.4 million. Last week Volkswagen confirmed it had exceeded last year’s record of 8.36 million global vehicles sales with three weeks of the year remaining.

Volkswagen is set to intensify its push for sales supremacy in 2013, with the German manufacturer to add 600,000 units of production capacity over the next 12 months – more than Toyota and GM combined.

The three are racing to become the first manufacturer in history to sell 10 million vehicles in a calendar year. Both Toyota and Volkswagen forecast to hit the milestone in the coming years.

The global automotive market will also exceed 80 million vehicles for the first time this year, with growth in the US and Japan and continued strength in China offsetting the embattled European sector.




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