Once the envy of the auto industry, the Japanese automaker has dealt with a tumultuous couple of years. And 2011 proved little different. Sales plummeted in April, May and June, following production disruptions caused by the March earthquake and tsunami. A few months later, floods in Thailand weighed on the company's suppliers' ability to make up for Toyota's (TM) earlier output losses.
For 2011, sales dropped 7% to 1.6 million vehicles. After holding the title for the past three years, Toyota lost its spot as the top-selling automaker in annual global sales, sliding behind General Motors and Volkswagen.
Executives forecast a brighter 2012, however. Last December, the company forecasted a 20% jump in global sales to a record 8.48 million vehicles as it builds inventory and meets pent-up demand in Brazil and China, among other countries.