Toyota is poised to become the worlds second-biggest vehicle manufacturer after dramatically closing the gap with Ford in 2002.
According to Automotive News Europes latest Global Market Data Book, Toyota built 6,309,616 vehicles last year, up 7.9 percent from 5,848,094 units in 2001.
Ford production declined 0.5 percent from 7,008,000 vehicles in 2001 to 6,973,000 last year.
There were some significant changes in the rankings.
Hyundai overtook Honda to claim the No. 7 position. The Korean carmaker built 2,913,726 vehicles last year (up 15.7 percent) against Hondas 2,900,787 (up 9.4 percent).
Hyundai also passed Honda in the global vehicle sales chart.
Renault moved up from No. 11 to No. 10 in the production rankings, displacing Fiat group. Renault made 2,343,954 vehicles in 2002, marginally fewer than the preceding year. But vehicle production at Fiat group dropped 9.7 percent to 2,159,936 units.
Two other Japanese carmakers posted sharp rises in global production. Both Mitsubishi (No. 12; 1,822,644 units; up 9.3 percent) and Suzuki (No. 13; 1,798,089 units; up 11 percent) are rapidly catching up with Fiat group.
Meanwhile, if Renault and Nissans production totals are combined, the alliance partners displace Volkswagen as the worlds No. 4 vehicle producer, with 5,034,249 units versus VWs 5,023,264.
On its own, Nissan was No. 9 last year, the same as in 2001.
General Motors remained the worlds top vehicle producer with 8,276,000 units.
The production totals include minivehicles; passenger cars; light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles and buses; and vehicles built for sale by other manufacturers.
Germanys Robert Bosch consolidated its position as the No. 2 global OEM parts supplier, behind Delphi. Boschs 2002 sales of $19.1 billion (E16.2 billion) trailed Delphis $25.5 billion.
But in the European supplier rankings, Delphi dropped from fourth to seventh position, behind ZF Friedrichshafen, Johnson Controls, Valeo, Siemens VDO Automotive, Faurecia and Robert Bosch at the top.
Elsewhere in the global supplier list, Japans Aisin Seiki moved from No. 10 to No. 8, displacing US supplier TRW, which went in the opposite direction. Frances Valeo moved up one place, from No. 12 to No. 11, and Germanys Siemens VDO Automotive climbed two places, from No. 14 to No. 12.