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Toyota is still the world's No. 1 carmaker

Japan's Toyota has reported 2015 sales figures showing that the company once again outdid its closest rivals Volkswagen and General Motors. Even frequent recalls couldn't prevent it from staying at the top.

Toyota said Wednesday its global group sales dropped by 0.8 percent in 2015 from a year earlier to 10.15 million vehicles, but it took the crown as the world's top car maker for the fourth straight year.

The Japanese company outpaced German rival Volkswagen, which shifted 9.93 million units last year, while General Motors moved 9.8 million vehicles.

The Toyota Group, including Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors, saw domestic sales fall by 6.5 percent amid sluggish spending, while sales outside Japan rose by 0.9 percent.

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Toyota remains top-selling carmaker

Recall dilemma

Toyota's report came as the company kept struggling to recover its reputation for safety after the recall of millions of cars around the world for various problems, including an exploding air bag issue at supplier Takata.

Toyota stopped building new plants years ago,

turning its focus to quality.

It's been overhauling its production methods in a bid to slash development costs and squeeze more productivity out of its existing facilities. The company has released its first mass-market hydrogen fuel cell car, the Mirai, to tap the green market.

While German rival VW sold more vehicles than the Japanese in the first half of last year, it saw its sales declining later on as it was hammered by a massive emissions cheating scandal with about 11 million of its cars found to have been fitted with defeat devices designed to thwart pollution tests in the lab.

hg/cjc (dpa, AFP)

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