DETROIT — Volkswagen barely edged out General Motors for second place in the global auto sales race during the first three quarters of the year, but Toyota was expected to keep its lead to stay in first place.
GM said Wednesday that is sold 7.372 million cars and trucks worldwide from January through September. VW said that its global light vehicle sales totaled 7.40 million for the period, but a spokesman in Germany would not provide a more precise figure.
Toyota won't release its numbers for the first three quarters until late October. But it was in first place in the first half with sales of almost 5.1 million, and it expects full-year sales of 10.1 million.
Toyota Motor Corp. finished first last year with a record 9.98 million sales. General Motors Co. finished second and Volkswagen AG third.
Volkswagen, which nudged GM out of second in the first half of the year, stayed ahead even though the Detroit automaker had its best third-quarter global sales since 1980, led by strong sales in China and growth in North America. GM's sales in China rose 12 percent for the period, while North American sales were up nearly 5 percent.
CEO Mary Barra said in a statement that the company has new models going on sale in China, Europe and North America that will keep sales momentum going, including the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks.
VW Group Board Member for Sales Christian Klinger said last week in a statement that the company as a chance to reach 10 million deliveries this year.
Volkswagen is growing globally despite falling sales in the U.S., where it has struggled for two years. Through September, Volkswagen Group U.S. sales were down just over 6 percent.