Japan's Toyota said Tuesday that it sold a record 11.2 million vehicles in 2023, cementing its position as the world's top-selling automaker for the fourth successive year thanks to a recovery in demand in all regions and easing semiconductor shortages.
The figure, which represents units shifted by the firm and its subsidiaries, represented a jump of 7.2 percent on-year and compares with 9.2 million for Germany's Volkswagen Group, whose unit sales soared 12 percent. South Korea's Hyundai-Kia retained third place in 2023 with 7.3 million units sold, up 6.7 percent.
In terms of market value, however, Elon Musk's US electric automaker Tesla remains number one ahead of the Japanese giant. Toyota on Tuesday credited for its performance "solid demand in each region, in addition to easing semiconductor shortages in each region."
"We will continue to carefully monitor the parts supply situation and make every effort to deliver as many vehicles as possible to our customers at the earliest date," a statement added.
Tuesday's figure combined sales for the Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands, and beat its own previous record of 10.7 million set in 2019, the year before it overtook Volkswagen.
Taking only Toyota and Lexus, global volume sales totalled 10.3 million units. Growth for Daihatsu, which builds mini-vehicles, fell while those of truck and bus-maker Hino -- which has been hit by a scandal of rigged tests of its engines in Japan -- sank almost 10 percent. Toyota however has been slower than some other rivals to embrace electric vehicle investment having long-focused more on hybrids. In 2023 it sold just 104,018 EVs, a fraction of 1.81 million of Tesla and 1.57 million for China's BYD.
Toyota's hybrid unit sales were 3.4 million last year, a jump of 31.4 percent. But the company has said that by 2025 it plans to have an electrified version for every Toyota and Lexus model globally. It also aims to sell 1.5 million EVs annually by 2026 and 3.5 million by 2030, and said this month it will significantly expand an electric battery plant in North Carolina.
On Monday, Toyota said it was suspending shipments of 10 models that use engines linked with testing irregularities at an affiliate. Toyota Industries did not conduct proper horsepower output testing for the certification of three diesel engine models, the parent group said.
The automaker said the models, including the Land Cruiser 300 and HiAce, use the affected engines. The shipment suspension will affect about 36,500 Toyota vehicles produced every month, the company said.