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Toyota

Toyota is once again the world's No. 1 carmaker in terms of sales after it reportedly sold 9.75 million vehicles in 2012, according to TheDetroitBureau.com.

In second place is General Motors with 9.29 million vehicles, while Volkswagen comes in at a close third with 9.1 million vehicles.

Toyota first assumed the global sales crown in 2008, dislodging GM from the top spot which it occupied for 70 years. Although the Japanese carmaker weathered the sudden unintended acceleration issue that befell its vehicles in 2010, the earthquake and tsunami that struck its home country in 2011 affected its production, dropping Toyota to third place that year.

With Toyota's plants back to normal by the end of 2011, its sales in its home market jumped by 35 percent, while overseas sales also grew by 23 percent in 2012.

Despite the surge in last year's sales, Toyota apparently still missed its target with the blame being pointed at the rising tension between Japan and China over a chain of small, uninhabited islands that both nations claim.

By the way, the total sales figures stated above are not on a single-brand basis. Toyota also includes sales of Lexus and Scion; GM includes Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Opel, Holden, and several Chinese brands; Volkswagen includes Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat, Skoda and Bugatti.

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