SHANGHAI – While overtaking General Motors as the top-selling automaker in the U.S., Toyota Motor Co. pulled off a rare feat in China last year — it was the only major global automaker to gain meaningful share in the market.
Toyota is also better positioned than global rivals for profitable growth in China: the competitive fuel economy of its cars and light trucks allows it to roll out more gasoline models with no rush to ramp up electric-vehicle output to comply with local rules.
Toyota only produces vehicles under the Toyota brand in China. It sells Lexus vehicles in the market via imports from Japan and the U.S.
Despite the severe semiconductor chip shortage that put a crimp on output industrywide, the Japanese carmaker’s China sales rose for the ninth straight year in 2021, advancing 8.2 percent to top 1.94 million.
The growth was driven by the Toyota brand. Some 1.7 million Toyota-badged vehicles were delivered in China last year, a 9.5-percent jump from a year earlier. Lexus’ China sales gained less than one percent to about 244,000.