Toyota Motor Corporation (TYO:7293) regained its status as the world’s biggest automaker by sales in 2012 after having lost the distinction to General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) the year before.

Japan’s No. 1 automaker sold 9.75 million vehicles last year, a 23 percent jump in global sales and a record for the company, while GM sold 9.29 million last year. Germany Volkswagen AG (FRA:VOW), the world’s third-largest carmaker, sold 9.07 million vehicles.

GM had been selling more cars than any other company for more than 70 years before Toyota surpassed the Detroit-based manufacturer in 2008.

GM regained the No. 1 spot in 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami smashed into Japan and curtailed Toyota’s production.