July 30, 2014 at 1:00 am

Toyota is top automaker in first half of 2014; GM slips to 3rd

The 2015 Toyota Camry (Mark Lennihan / AP)

Washington— Toyota Motor Corp. remained the world’s largest automaker in the first half of 2014, selling 5.097 million vehicles, up 3.8 percent, the automaker said late Tuesday.

The Japanese automaker said in Japan its Toyota unit sold 4.53 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 3.1 percent, while its Daihatsu unit was up 10.4 percent to 488,000 and its Hino Motors unit was up 2.6 percent to 80,000.

General Motors Co. fell to third place, selling 4.92 million vehicles, up 1.4 percent, while Volkswagen AG sold 4.97 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 5.9 percent.

Including heavy truck sales, VW topped GM for second place in 2013 with 9.73 million cars and trucks in 2013, compared to GM’s 9.71 million.

The German automaker’s tally includes heavy-duty truck sales from its MAN SE and Scania AB units, so some still say GM is the second-best selling automaker among light-duty vehicles.

Toyota Motor Corp. sold 9.98 million vehicles in 2013, retaining the title as the world’s largest automaker for a second straight year.

Toyota was also the top-selling automaker from 2008-10, but GM regained the title in 2011 after Toyota production sank because of natural disasters in Asia. GM was the world’s largest automaker from 1931 through 2007.

Volkswagen vows to be the world’s largest automaker by 2018 and has aggressive plans to grow sales in the United States and elsewhere. It announced this month it will build a new midsize SUV at its plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.