07/28/2015 08:47 EDT | Updated 07/28/2016 05:59 EDT

Volkswagen Is World's Largest Automaker By Sales, Edging Out Toyota

Alexander Koerner via Getty Images
WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - MARCH 10: A brand new Volkswagen Golf 7 car is stored in a tower at the Volkswagen Autostadt complex near the Volkswagen factory on March 10, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is Germany's biggest car maker and is scheduled to announce financial results for 2014 later this week. Customers who buy a new Volkswagen in Germany have the option of coming to the Autostadt customer service center in person to pick up their new car. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

TOKYO — Volkswagen overtook Toyota in global vehicle sales for January-June, the first time the German automaker has come out at the top in the intensely competitive tallies.

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it sold 5.02 million vehicles in the first six months of this year.

Volkswagen said earlier it sold 5.04 million vehicles during the same period. Sales were robust in Europe and North America but fell in China, a strong market for the company.

Detroit-based General Motors Corp., the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades until being surpassed by Toyota in 2008, is expected to report its figure Thursday.

Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, has been the world's top-selling automaker for the past three years.

Also on HuffPost:

Photo gallery 13 Cars That Cost More Than They Used To See Gallery