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Toyota leads world sales in ’14

Toyota Motor Corp. stayed at the top in global vehicle sales in 2014, taking that auto industry crown for the third year straight, but was less upbeat about this year. The Japanese automaker sold 10.23 million vehicles, beating out Volkswagen and General Motors. But it expects to sell fewer trucks and cars this year, forecasting sales will fall 1 percent year-on-year to 10.15 million vehicles, according to numbers released Wednesday. The drop is largely due to a projected 9 percent plunge in Japan sales. Japan sales had been inflated in the early part of last year ahead of a sales tax hike. Overall, the Japanese auto market is weakening because of population decline. Volkswagen AG of Germany sold 10.14 million vehicles in 2014, up 4 percent from the previous year. Detroit-based General Motors Co. was third at 9.92 million vehicles, a company record and 2 percent higher than its total in 2013.