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Toyota edges Volkswagen and GM as world's top auto seller in 2014

Toyota edges Volkswagen and GM as world's top auto seller in 2014
Visitors inspect Toyotas at a gallery in Tokyo. The Japanese automaker stayed at the top in global vehicle sales in 2014 but is pessimistic about this year because of expected weaker sales in Japan. (Koji Sasahara / Associated Press)

Toyota Motor Corp. narrowly edged out Volkswagen AG to capture the global auto sales crown for the third consecutive year in 2014.

General Motors Co. was third.

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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.

Follow me on Twitter (@LATimesJerry), Facebook and Google+.

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