The Japanese auto giant logged its highest-ever annual sales volume, with the results signalling it had recovered from a series of damaging safety recalls and Japan’s 2011 quake-tsunami disaster.
The figures come after US-based GM said it sold 9.71 million cars last year, while Germany’s Volkswagen logged annual sales of 9.5 million.
Toyota broke GM’s decades-long reign as world’s top automaker in 2008 but it lost the crown three years later as the natural disasters hammered production and disrupted the supply chains of Japanese automakers.
In 2012, Toyota once again overtook its US rival, which sells the Chevrolet and luxury Cadillac brands.
On Thursday the Japanese maker of the Camry sedan and Prius hybrid said it expects this year to become the first car maker to ever break the 10 million barrier.
The figures cap off a comeback for Toyota, which has said it expects a net profit of 1.67 trillion yen ($16.02 billion) in the fiscal year to March thanks to a sharply weaker yen and improving sales in North America.