Toyota, the most profitable automaker in the world, says it will increase production by 5% to a record 9.95 million vehicles in 2008, opening up a lead over General Motors, Reuters reports. Toyota, which sold 9.36 million vehicles in 2007, also expects sales to increase 5% in 2008 to 9.85 million units.
GM hasn’t released year-end sales figures, but estimates selling 9.26 million vehicles, ending its 70-year-reign as largest automaker. The two companies are in a nip-and-tuck battle for the top spot this year—Toyota led for the first six months, but GM took the lead in September. Toyota is hoping to surpass GM’s 30-year-old record for sales of 9.55 million vehicles.