Toyota said on Monday it sold 9.75 million vehicles group-wide around the world last year, a record for the 75-year-old Japanese automaker and up 22.6 percent from a year ago.
The result was in line with the company's December forecast, and put it back in the No. 1 spot, which it lost in 2011 when it was hit by a wave of negative publicity after a recall crisis in the United States, and a disrupted supply chain following an earthquake in Japan and floods in Thailand.
Toyota held the global sales crown from 2008 through 2010, but fell to third place in 2011 behind GM and Volkswagen.
GM sold 9.28 million vehicles in 2012, up 2.9 percent from a year ago, while Volkswagen sold 9.07 million vehicles, up 11.2 percent.
Toyota aims to sell 9.91 million vehicles group-wide globally in 2013, up 1.6 percent from 2012.
The Toyota group also includes sales at Daihatsu Motors and Hino Motors Toyota-only sales hit a record-high 8.72 million vehicles, up 22.8 percent on a year ago.