TOYOTA Motor Corp has gained a large lead over other Japanese carmakers in global new car sales volume last year, which resulted from its efforts to proactively launch new models.

By Thursday, seven major domestic automakers had released the sales volume of new cars for the year.

The results show that five carmakers, including Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co, suffered a decline in sales from 2018.

Toyota’s global new vehicle sales – including those of Daihatsu Motor Co and Hino Motors Ltd, which are both under Toyota’s umbrella – increased to 10.74 million units, up 1.4 per cent from 2018. The robust sales come against the backdrop of its introduction of RAV4 sport-utility vehicles and new Corolla models.

Toyota said it plans to launch a series of new models this year in a bid to increase its market share.

The automaker is expected to roll out a new compact car, the Yaris, with improved fuel efficiency in February, and release an electric vehicle under its Lexus brand in Chinese and European markets from spring. Toyota also eyes a full-model change of its fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai.

Honda’s sales fell 1.1 per cent to 5.178 million units as it suffered sluggish sales in European and Japanese markets despite its robust sales in China, which increased 8.5 per cent from 2018.

Nissan, which was surpassed by Honda, posted sales of 5.176 million units last year, down 8.4 per cent from 2018. The sales in Nissan’s key US market fell by 9.9 per cent.

Suzuki Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp saw their sales drop sharply.

Suzuki’s sales fell 9.8 per cent to a three million unit mark due mainly to its poor performance in the Indian market as the sales dropped about 13.7 per cent there.

Mazda Motor Corp posted sales of 1.49 million units, down 7.2 per cent, the first drop in eight years. Mazda, which sells the CX-4, an SUV only for the Chinese market, saw sluggish sales.