The Toyota Motor Corp group sold 4.16 million vehicles globally in the January to June period, becoming the world's best-selling automaker on a first-half basis for the first time in six years, data released by the company showed Thursday.
The figure, including the sales of minivehicle maker Daihatsu Motor Co and truck producer Hino Motors Ltd, represented a 21.6 percent drop from a year earlier on slowing demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But it surpassed the 3.89 million vehicles sold by Germany's Volkswagen AG, which marked a 27.4 percent decline from a year earlier due largely to lockdowns in many European countries to contain the virus as well as weak demand in China amid the pandemic.
The alliance of Nissan Motor Co, Renault SA of France and Mitsubishi Motors Corp sold 3.45 million vehicles, down 33.7 percent from a year before, remaining in third place for the second straight year, with its sales sharply declining in the virus-hit U.S and European markets.
Toyota alone produced 3.31 million vehicles globally in the first half of 2020, down 28.6 percent from the previous year.
Its global sales in June decreased 16 percent to 706,555 vehicles from a year earlier, improving from a 31.8 percent decline in the previous month, due partly to robust sales in China.
In June, Toyota's global output excluding that of its subsidiaries dropped 24 percent from a year earlier to 588,816 vehicles, down for the sixth straight month but an improvement from a record 54.4 percent plunge in May as its factories around the world gradually resumed production in the reporting month.
The company's overseas output in June fell 11.6 percent to 428,909 vehicles and domestic production tumbled 44.8 percent to 159,907 units. The automaker halted production for four days at all of its plants in Japan due to weak demand.
"We are on an upward trend" in global sales, Toyota said, expecting to recover to year-before levels in early 2021.
The combined domestic production of eight major Japanese automakers in June dropped 36.4 percent from a year earlier to 490,877 vehicles due to weak demand amid the pandemic, but it picked up from a 61.8 percent fall in May.
Their combined overseas production also decreased 19.8 percent to 1.17 million vehicles but was up from a 61.7 percent plunge in the previous month.© KYODO