Toyota widens global sales lead over GM

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 18: The Toyota Corolla Australian premiere during the Australian International Motor Show media preview at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre on October 18, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. The 11-day motor show opens to the public tomorrow. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) Cameron Spencer

DETROIT Toyota has widened its global sales lead over General Motors (GM) because its factories have recovered from last year's earthquake.

The Japanese automaker says it sold 7.4 million vehicles around the world through September, up 28 percent from a year earlier. That's 450,000 more than General Motors, which says it sold 6.95 million cars and trucks. GM's global sales are up 2.5 percent for the first nine months.

GM spokesman Jim Cain says the company will stay focused on profitable growth.

Toyota could face a slowdown in the fourth quarter as sales fall in China. Anti-Japanese sentiment flared in China after Japan nationalized tiny islands in the East China Sea.

The move set off violent protests in China and a widespread call to boycott Japanese goods.

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