For the third straight year, Japan's Toyota was the world's biggest automaker in 2010, edging out General Motors, the resurgent American manufacturer.
Toyota sold more than 8.4 million vehicles last year, 28,000 more than General Motors. GM has regained its footing after emerging from bankruptcy in late 2010 and, for the first time, sold more cars last year in China than it did in the U.S. Worldwide, in 2009, Toyota sold 330,000 more vehicles than GM.
Overall, Toyota's sales advanced eight percent last year. But Toyota's U.S. car sales declined slightly in the face of its global recall of 8.5 million vehicles for various safety or manufacturing concerns.
Auto manufacturing analysts say that GM could surpass Toyota as the world's biggest automaker in 2011, partly because the U.S. economy is slowly improving but mostly because of its dominance over Toyota in China.
China has been the world's largest automotive market for the last two years. General Motors sold more than 2.3 million vehicles in China last year compared to just 846,000 for Toyota.