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Toyota sells 4.8 cars in first half of 2008

Toyota says it sold 4.8 million vehicles worldwide in the first half of the year, up 2 percent from the same period a year ago.

Toyota's global vehicle sales have been about the same recently as those of U.S. automaker General Motors Corp., the world's top automaker.

Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman Hideaki Homma gave the results for the first six months of 2008 on Wednesday.

GM is expected to release its figures later in the day.

Toyota Motor Corporation is a multinational corporation headquartered in Japan, and is the world's largest automaker. In terms of name recognition, Toyota is also the only car manufacturer to appear in the top 15 of the BrandZ name recognition ranking.

In 1934, while still a department of Toyota Industries, it created its first product Type A engine and its first passenger car (the Toyota AA) in 1936. The company was founded in 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries to create automobiles. Toyota also owns and operates Lexus and Scion brands and has a majority shareholding in Daihatsu Motors, and minority shareholdings in Fuji Heavy Industries, Isuzu Motors, and the engine, motorcycle and marine craft manufacturer Yamaha Motors. The company includes 522 subsidiaries.

Toyota is headquartered in Aichi, Nagoya and in Tokyo. In addition to manufacturing automobiles, Toyota provides financial services through its division Toyota Financial Services and also creates robots. Toyota Industries and Finance divisions form the bulk of the Toyota Group, one of the largest conglomerates in the world.

Photo: Business Week