After Driving Past GM In 2012, Toyota Poised To Boost Sales Further In 2013 : The Two-Way The Japanese giant recovered last year from the lingering effects of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that cut into its production. Now, in part thanks to a decline in the value of the yen that makes its products more competitive, it expects further sales gains in 2013.
NPR logo After Driving Past GM In 2012, Toyota Poised To Boost Sales Further In 2013

After Driving Past GM In 2012, Toyota Poised To Boost Sales Further In 2013

Vehicles in the lot of a Northbrook, Ill., Toyota dealer last October. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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Scott Olson/Getty Images

Vehicles in the lot of a Northbrook, Ill., Toyota dealer last October.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

After seeing its sales take a hit in 2011 because production was hurt by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan early that year, Toyota bounced back in 2012 to retake the No. 1 spot as the world's top automaker.

The company sold 9.75 million vehicles, to No. 2 General Motors' 9.3 million. Volkswagen was No. 3, with 9.1 million vehicles sold.

Among the reasons Toyota is back atop the sales statistics: Strong demand "for its Prius family of hybrid cars, sedans like the Camry and SUVs such as the Lexus RX 350," MarketWatch writes.

Now, thanks to a weaker yen that is helping make its products less expensive in the key U.S. market, Toyota is forecasting another gain in 2013 — to sales of 9.9 million. BloombergBusinessweek says some of Toyota's good fortune will come at the expense of South Korea's automakers, who are getting hurt by a rising South Korean won that makes their vehicles relatively more expensive.

USA Today notes that "GM had been the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008."

CNNMoney adds one footnote to the Toyota-GM rivalry:

"Toyota's sales totals were also helped by the fact that it made more than 600,000 heavy-duty trucks and buses during the year, a segment GM essentially pulled out of in 2009."