General Motors Co. (GM) outsold Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) globally in the first six months to become the world’s largest automaker after the record March earthquake disrupted production in Japan.

Output at the Toyota City, Japan-based automaker slumped 23 percent to 3.37 million units in the half-year after the company halted production following the magnitude-9 temblor and tsunami in March. Toyota expects to enter a production recovery phase in September, one month earlier than previously announced, it said Aug. 2.

“Even if Toyota recovers production, it will take another few more months for sales to actually recover” as it takes time to deliver vehicles to dealers, said Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at consulting company Carnorama in Tokyo. “Toyota’s sales may trail behind Volkswagen in the full-year as well.”

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