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2013-01-29 09:51

STAYING ON TOP: Despite poor European demand and a consumer boycott in China, Toyota reports a record sales year in 2013 retaining its world's top automaker status.

TOKYO, Japan - Toyota and Nissan posted record sales for 2012 as they benefited from increased demand and Toyota recaptured the World's Most Prolific Automaker crown from General Motors.

Toyota's sales soared by 22.6% to 9.75-million while Nissan saw a 5.8% rise to 4.94-million.

The figures confirmed that Toyota had regained the global sales crown it lost to US-based GM in 2011 after the March 11 2011 tsunami hammered demand and production in Japan.

CHINESE ROW

Robust sales in Asia and the USA helped to offset weak demand in Europe and the effects of Tokyo's diplomatic row with Beijing. Political friction in 2012 sparked a Chinese consumer boycott of Japanese goods.

In November 2012 Toyota raised its profit forecast to the equivalent of R77-billion for the fiscal year to March, up from R76-billion.

Nissan, part-owned by Renault, warned that net profit for 2013 would be R32-billion, down 20% from its earlier estimate of R40-billion, citing its heavy exposure to the Chinese market.

A strong yen and uncertainty in China and Europe have weighed on Japan's automakers, with Toyota crediting its rosier profit outlook to cost-cutting, including a decrease in labour, research and development expenses.

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