General Motors Co. was third.
Toyota sold 10.23 million vehicles last year, including those from its subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors. That was up 3% from 2013.
Volkswagen sold 10.14 million vehicles in 2014, a 4% gain from the previous year, while GM's global sales rose 2% to 9.92 million vehicles.
Toyota believes its sales will slide 1% this year because of declining sales in its Japanese home market. It expects its sales in Japan to fall 9% this year to 2.1 million vehicles.
That could give VW, which is not dependent on sales in Japan, the opening to capture the top ranking.