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Business

Toyota stays firmly ahead of VW

Auto maker Toyota has presented sales figures for the first quarter. The result achieved in the January-March period suggests the Japanese are unwilling to concede the sales crown to Germany's VW any time soon.

Japanese carmaker Toyota reported Thursday it shifted a total of 2.52 million vehicles in the first quarter.

That figures put it ahead of German competitor Volkswagen which was able to sell 2.49 million units in the same period, while General Motors reported global sales of 2.4 million cars earlier this week.

Toyota noted that its sales were down over 2 percent from a year ago as its domestic business lagged in the wake of a sales tax hike.

Neck-and-neck competition

The

race between the top three auto makers in terms of global sales remains intense

, playing out worldwide and increasingly in markets such as China and India.

Industry experts had originally expected Volkswagen to overtake Toyota this year, with the Japanese having been the world's top-selling carmaker for three years now.

But VW's recent difficulties on the US and Chinese markets have suggested Toyota may not be toppled from the top anytime soon despite the Japanese company's worries on the home front.

hg/ng (dpa, AP)

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