The latest data from January-September shows Toyota sold 7.412 million vehicles over the nine-month period, up less than one per cent on the same period last year.
Its group-wide global sales tally includes sales from its affiliate brands, Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd.
In comparison, US giant General Motors sold 7.25 million vehicles, representing a 4.6 per cent rise on the same period last year, while Germany’s Volkswagen sold 7.03 million cars during the same period, up almost five per cent year-on-year.
However, Volkswagen’s sales figures exclude its Scania and MAN brands, which combined account for around 200,000 vehicles a year.
Volkswagen has previously stated that it intends to reach the 10 million sales mark before 2018 and become the top seller globally by that same year.
Toyota’s strongest overseas market remains the US, with exports to the country rising nine per cent year-on-year to just over 53,000 vehicles in September, with strong demand for the RAV4 and Lexus IS models.
Overall in September, Toyota’s global sales rose six per cent from a year ago to 832,000 vehicles, while in Europe, nine-month sales of Toyota and Lexus were down four per cent to 407,072 units.
The company will announce its third-quarter results on November 6, with analysts expecting it to post an operating profit of 616 billion yen, which is almost double what it posted a year ago.
Analysts also expect Toyota to report a new record of 2.4 trillion yen ($24.7 billion) in operating profit for the year ending in March 2014, more than 2.27 trillion yen higher than it achieved in the same period in 2008.