Toyota starts 2013 as No. 1 automaker

Toyota was the best-selling automaker during the first quarter.

Toyota outpaced both General Motors and Volkswagen during the first quarter of 2013 to retain its position as the world's best-selling automaker.

Toyota announced on Wednesday that it sold 2.43 million vehicle worldwide during the three month period to start 2013, besting GM's 2.36 million sales and VW's 2.27 million global deliveries. Toyota is hoping to sell nearly 10 million vehicles worldwide this year.

Despite its No. 1 position during the first quarter, Toyota's global sales actually dipped slightly during the period. Toyota's sales fell 13 percent in China last quarter as a territory dispute continued to crimp demand while the expiration of tax credits in its home market of Japan led to a 13 percent sales slump. Toyota's European sales slipped 10 percent during the three month period.

However, Toyota is expected to maintain its sales lead for the full year.

"Toyota will probably keep the top spot this year,” Kentaro Hayashi, an analyst at Tachibana Securities Co., told Bloomberg. "But the gap may narrow because GM is planning to launch many new models.”

Toyota was the best-selling automaker in 2012 with 9.75 million deliveries.

Although Toyota's sales are down slightly, the automaker's profits are actually up thanks to the depreciation of the yen. In fact, Toyota's market value has surged by more than $50 billion so far this year.

Read more!