Toyota has regained its position as the biggest carmaker in the world after boosting sales by 22% in 2012 to 9.75 million units globally.
GM sold 9.29 million vehicle last year and Volkswagen sold 9.07 million vehicles.
The Japanese manufacturer has recovered from the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand which affected its sales in 2011.
The increase in sales also marks the recovery in reputation after its huge recall of 11 million vehicles from autumn 2009.
Asian and US markets were highlighted as the areas which helped boost growth for Toyota.
The brand has been helped in the US with a drop in the strength of the yen against the dollar. The significant growth market of China could be a potential problem for Toyota in the future as Japan and China continue to have territorial disputes, which is damaging sales there.