Toyota vroomed past General Motors in the first quarter to become the biggest automaker in the world, ending GM's 76-year reign. Riding the strength of its innovative Prius hybrid and solid standbys like the Camry, Toyota posted record first-quarter sales of 2.35 million vehicles, compared to GM's 2.26 million.
“Everyone was expecting it to assume the No. 1 position—the question was when," one industry analyst told the New York Times. Toyota claims it doesn't aim to permanently usurp GM's mantle. "Our goal has never been to sell the most cars in the world," spokesman Paul Nolasco said.