Toyota Motor Corporation (Japan)
Toyota finally toppled General Motors to become the world's biggest carmaker for the first time in 2008. However, a series of problems, not least the tragic 2011 Japanese earthquake, caused sales to slump alarmingly, but only temporarily, at the turn of the decade. Toyota regained the #1 position once again in 2012. The company has a firm grip on its home country with market share now more than 43% and controlling stakes in fellow carmaker Daihatsu and leading truck manufacturer Hino. Above all, though, Toyota is keen to establish itself as a global motor manufacturer not a Japanese exporter. It has taken care to adapt its product line to local tastes with region-specific cars like the Camry in the US and Avensis and Corolla in Europe, and has worked hard to shift the majority of its non-domestic production outside Japan. Never one to rest on its laurels, Toyota has consistently pushed into new areas, the most notable of which has been its pioneering success with the Prius fuel-electric hybrid. Yet not even the best-run of the world's auto manufacturers was able to withstand the impact of the sudden decline in the global car industry from 2008 onwards. This led to a substantial loss for the financial year, the first in Toyota's history. Potentially more damaging, though, were serious lapses in quality control which prompted a massive vehicle recall in 2010, and even a criminal investigation by a US federal grand jury. Ultimately Toyota was exonerated of any blame, but its reputation was sullied by the whole affair.
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Who are the competitors of Toyota? See Cars Sector for other companies. Also see Best Global Brands ranking
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Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Aug 2013: Toyota retained its position as the world's biggest car company in the first half of 2013, but faces intense competition over the next six months from GM, which could clinch the lead by year's end. For H1, Toyota sold 4.91m automobiles, down just over 1% from the year-ago period. GM, however, reported a 3.9% increase to 4.85m units, while Volkswagen was up 5.6% to 4.7m units. Toyota's sales were dented a sharp decline in Japan following the ending of government subsidies on the purchase of environmentally friendly vehicles, and also by a slump in sales in China following a local boycott by customers of Japanese goods because of a nationalist territorial dispute.
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