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Toyota returns as globe's top automaker after 5 years

Japanese group sold 10.4m vehicles in 2020 thanks to China and US drivers

A Toyota SUV on sale at an auto dealer in Guangzhou. China's success against the coronavirus and Americans' affinity for SUVs helped make Toyota No. 1. (Photo by Takashi Kawakami) 

NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota has overtaken Volkswagen to become the world's bestselling carmaker, the first time the Japanese automaker has taken the mantle in five years, thanks to strong sales in China and the U.S.

Toyota announced on Thursday that it sold 9.52 million new vehicles in 2020, down 11.3% from the previous year. The Japanese carmaker said when it combines sales of Subaru, which became an equity-method affiliate in 2020, the number reached 10.4 million units.

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