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Toyota back on top in car sales

A Toyota showroom in Tokyo. Toyota Motor sold a record 9.75 million vehicles last year.

KIYOSHI OTA/European Presssphoto Agency

A Toyota showroom in Tokyo. Toyota Motor sold a record 9.75 million vehicles last year.

TOKYO — Toyota Motor sold a record 9.75 million vehicles last year, according to an official tally released Monday, roaring past General Motors and Volkswagen to reclaim its title as the world’s top automaker in 2012.

General Motors, which held the top spot in 2011, mustered 9.29 million vehicles in global sales last year.

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Volkswagen sold 9.1 million vehicles last year, a record for the German automaker.

By confirming its number one title, Toyota cements a strong comeback from several years of tumbles.

A sharp slowdown in exports during the global economic crisis led to the automaker’s biggest loss in decades, while controversy over its handling of recalls greatly tarnished its image for quality and reliability.

In 2011, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as widespread flooding in Thailand later that year, severely disrupted production, weighing on sales.

Toyota had a bumper year in 2012, however, as production rebounded and the automaker went on an offensive to win back market share.

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