Toyota has reclaimed the world number one spot for vehicle sales as Japan’s big three carmakers set new production records in 2012.

Toyota said it overtook General Motors and Volkswagen last year as combined global automobile sales by the company and two units - Daihatsu and Hino - jumped 22.6% from the previous year to 9,747,762.

According to earlier announcements, GM totalled 9.29m units in 2012, up 3%, while VW recorded 9.07m sales, up 11 %.

North America and emerging markets accounting for much of the sales success for Toyota in 2012 while, in Japan, the group boosted sales thanks to the government's subsidy programme for eco-friendly vehicles.

Toyota slipped to third place in 2011 as production and the supply chain were hit by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand.

Japan's top three automakers hit new global production highs in 2012 due to increased demand in North America and Southeast Asian countries.

Toyota produced 8.74m vehicles last year, up 26.1% over 2011 with output in North America up 42.7% to 1.72m units.

Nissan production rose by 5.5% to 4.89m with overseas production up 6.3% to 3.74 m - a record high for a calendar year.

Honda's global output increased 41.3% to 4.11m with production rising in North America thanks to strong sales of its CR-V SUV and the Civic.

All three also reported an increase in domestic sales while exports climbed 24% to 1.95m units at Toyota although Nissan’s decreased 5.8% to 674,580 and Honda's fell 8.7% to 214,562.