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TOKYO, DPA – Toyota sold more vehicles worldwide than Volkswagen in 2020, dethroning the German company as the world’s largest car maker for the first time in five years, despite falling sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Toyota group, including Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors, reported that its global group sales fell 11.3 per cent from the previous year to 9.5 million cars.

However, the Japanese manufacturer of the Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury vehicle said its sales in China jumped 10.9 per cent year-on-year to nearly 1.8 million, while it sold 2.1 million cars in the United States, its biggest market, down 11.3 per cent from the previous year.

Sales in North America “have been gradually recovering since May and have been flat or up year-on-year since September,” Toyota said.

The Volkswagen group saw its global sales plunge 15.2 per cent year on year to 9.3 million units in 2020, it said earlier this month.