Ten million is a lot of anything. It’s a lot of dollars, a lot of people, and a lot of just about anything that’s not on a microscopic scale, really. Even then, it’s still a lot. So ten million cars is a colossal number of vehicles, and that’s just how much Toyota was able to produce during the 2013 calendar year. Technically, it was 10.12 million — of which it sold 9.98 million — a whisper away from the 10 million sales threshold.
Crossing that imaginary barrier made Toyota the first company to do so as demand in the United States and China continues to keep Toyota in the number one worldwide spot for volume. Even more impressive, the figures come in just a few years after a tsunami devastated Toyota’s home country of Japan, crippling its local manufacturing facilities. Though these facilities are not yet back to their maximum output, higher production rates in the Americas and Europe helped offset sluggish production in its home market, the Wall Street Journal reported. Production overall rose 2.1 percent, though Japan’s output fell by 3.9 percent.
For 2014, Toyota intends to lift global sales to 10.32 million vehicles on a production increase to 10.43 million. In addition to the Toyota and Lexus nameplates, these figures include the vehicles made under its Diahatsu brand, as well as its Hino truck operations.
However, while Toyota was the first to breach the 10 million output mark, its competition is close on its heels. General Motors, the number two manufacturer in the world, sold 9.71 million in 2013, followed closely by 9.7 million from third-place Volkswagen. Both are setting the stage to produce over 10 million units this year, the Journal notes, adding that neither GM nor VW had disclosed their global production data for 2013 at the time of writing.
Honda and Nissan (NSANY.PK) also reported strong gains in global production, with 4.3 million vehicles and 4.95 million vehicles made worldwide, respectively. Across the board, the U.S. proved to be a strong market for all parties.
Toyota is coming back this year with the newly released Highlander SUV, a redesigned Tundra pickup and 4Runner SUV, and plans to reveal the next generation of Prius, the best selling hybrid vehicle, later this year. Its Lexus luxury arm has also seen drastic changes recently, and on the heels of the new IS sedan, the brand is planning the new RC and RC F coupes, and a new compact crossover SUV.
On top of all that, the company is plowing ahead with its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, which it is determined to have on public roads by next year. While that will most likely begin as a low-volume car — thus not having a significant impact in Toyota’s production figures — it’s place as the only mass-market hydrogen vehicle will draw more attention to Toyota’s brand.