Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday its group sold more cars than any other automaker in 2023, maintaining its lead for the fourth consecutive year as it ramped up production amid an easing chip shortage.

The automaker sold a record 11.23 million vehicles globally last year, including those produced by the group's minivehicle maker Daihatsu Motor Co. and truck manufacturer Hino Motors Ltd., up 7.2 percent from a year earlier.

Archrival Volkswagen AG of Germany sold 9.24 million cars in the year. The Japanese automaker's previous high was 10.74 million vehicles in 2019.

The group's worldwide production increased 8.6 percent to a record 11.52 million vehicles, helped by robust demand in Japan, North America and Europe.

Toyota alone sold 10.31 million vehicles worldwide, up 7.7 percent, while its global output grew 11.1 percent to 10.03 million cars, both annual figures exceeding the 10 million mark for the first time.

The record figures were partly driven by brisk sales of hybrid cars, which jumped 31.4 percent to 3.42 million vehicles. Its electric vehicle sales also made significant headway, increasing 4.3-fold to 104,018 units.

"Achieving top sales is not our goal. We hope to continue to build cars with safety and quality as our top priority," Toyota said.

A series of quality problems have plagued the group in recent years.

Daihatsu stopped all shipments at home and abroad last month due to safety test rigging, while Toyota Industries Corp., a Toyota affiliate, said Monday it had fabricated data on diesel engines it produces for the automaker, resulting in the partial halt of Toyota car shipments.

Global production at Japan's eight major carmakers, including Toyota, Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., grew 7.6 percent in 2023 to 25.80 million units, according to a tally based on their released data. The eight companies sold 24.81 million cars globally last year.

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