Toyota outsold GM in terms of global sales in the first quarter of this year. Toyota has reported that its global vehicle sales rose 9% in the first quarter to 2.35m units. That compared with 2.26m units for GM.

Toyota has been threatening to overhaul global leader GM for some time as its sales have steadily grown worldwide, including in the US where it has been a long-term gainer at the expense of local automakers.

Many in the industry expect Toyota to overhaul GM this year as the global top seller.

The results mark the first time Toyota has beat GM in global sales on a quarterly basis.

Toyota also produced more cars than GM in the first quarter. Toyota produced 2.367m vehicles compared with GM’s output of 2.335m vehicles.

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In 2006, Toyota’s global output rose 10% to 9.018m vehicles, while GM produced 9.18m vehicles worldwide.

Toyota is aiming for global output of 9.42m vehicles this year and sales of 9.34m units. GM has not yet released a full year forecast. GM is expected to continue to grow strongly in China and this could help GM hold on to its top ranking position for another year.