Despite a drop-off in sales in the first three months of 2015, strong sales in the U.S. helped put Toyota ahead of Volkswagen and General Motors in the race for the #1 spot in global automotive sales.
Toyota finished the quarter with 2.52 million vehicles sold to Volkswagen’s 2.49 million and GM’s 2.42 million. Toyota has held the lead for three straight years. Making the feat more remarkable is the fact that Toyota only recently lifted a moratorium on the construction of new assembly facilities, having not expanded its production capacity due to a freeze that has been in place since the company experienced its first global loss in 2009.
According to Bloomberg, the Japanese automaker’s American lineup of small Toyota and Lexus SUVs (a segment in which Volkswagen struggles in the U.S.) helped pad its global lead. The German juggernaut’s sales in China also dipped.
Toyota recently signed on to be the top Olympic sponsor through 2024. The terms of the deal remain unknown, but some Japanese outlets have reported the sponsorship will cost Toyota somewhere in the neighborhood of $835 million. No automaker has ever been a top sponsor of The Olympic Partner program.