GM Surpasses Toyota as World’s Largest Automaker on Japan Quake

General Motors Co. (GM) outsold Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) globally in the first six months to become the world’s largest automaker after the record March earthquake disrupted production in Japan.

GM sales rose 8.9 percent to 4.536 million units in the half-year ended June 30, the Detroit-based automaker said in a statement yesterday. That compares with 4.13 million units at second-ranked Volkswagen AG (VOW) and 3.71 million units for Toyota, including its luxury Lexus marque and affiliates Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd. (7205), according to statements by the companies.

Output at the Toyota City, Japan-based automaker slumped 23 percent to 3.37 million units in the half-year after the company halted production following the magnitude-9 temblor and tsunami in March. Toyota expects to enter a production recovery phase in September, one month earlier than previously announced, it said Aug. 2.

“Even if Toyota recovers production, it will take another few more months for sales to actually recover” as it takes time to deliver vehicles to dealers, said Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at consulting company Carnorama in Tokyo. “Toyota’s sales may trail behind Volkswagen in the full-year as well.”

GM’s U.S. sales climbed to 669,065 vehicles in the second quarter, according to industry researcher Autodata Corp. The Chevrolet Cruze was the top-selling car in the market in June and the Chevy Silverado full-size pickup remained the second- most popular vehicle, behind only Ford Motor Co.’s F-Series line.

Hyundai Motor Co. (005380), South Korea’s largest automaker, had a 11 percent jump in first-half deliveries of 1.96 million units.

Toyota shares fell 3.8 percent to 3,020 yen as of the 11:30 a.m. trading break in Tokyo. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 3.4 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anna Mukai in Tokyo at amukai1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kae Inoue at kinoue@bloomberg.net

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