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Tokyo - General Motors outsold Toyota for the first time in six quarters, rising atop the industry and underscoring the resurgence of U.S. automakers as they roll out the best cars they've built in a generation.
The 2.48 million vehicles that Toyota and its subsidiaries sold during the quarter ended June, based on monthly figures reported Friday, was shy of the 2.49 million that Detroit-based GM disclosed earlier this month. Toyota stayed ahead of Volkswagen, which sold 2.39 million vehicles last quarter.
GM's rise to the top of the global industry caps a week in which the maker of Chevrolet cars and Ford posted earnings that beat analyst estimates. In contrast, the Japanese automaker saw its deliveries drop, reflecting Toyota's reliance on a home market where demand is falling and underperformance in China where it's recovering from a consumer backlash.
"The U.S. market this year is coming back but the competition is getting harsher," said Yoshiaki Kawano, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Tokyo. "GM and other U.S. carmakers had the biggest tailwind from the strong U.S. economy. In China, Toyota is recovering but not fully recovered."
Sales in the first six months of this year dropped 1.2 percent to 4.91 million units. GM sold 4.85 million vehicles in the first half and Volkswagen delivered 4.7 million, according to the companies.
Toyota has been projecting since late December that sales will climb to almost 10 million units - a milestone no automaker has ever breached - in 2013.
At GM, 18 new or refreshed vehicles are being brought into showrooms this year, transforming its lineup into one of the market's newest from one of the oldest. One of the earliest new offerings, the 2014 Impala, was rated by Consumer Reports as the best sedan on the market - a first for a GM U.S. automaker in at least 20 years.