TOKYO, Jan. 28 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its group global vehicle sales in 2012 rose 22.6 percent from a year earlier to 9.75 million units, regaining the top spot it relinquished in 2011 in terms of worldwide vehicle sales by volume.

General Motors Co. of the United States ranked second with sales rising 2.9 percent to 9.29 million units, followed by Volkswagen AG of Germany, which sold 9.07 million units, up 11.2 percent.

Toyota's auto sales were boosted by robust demand in the United States and Southeast Asia, which more than offset dwindling sales in China in the wake of anti-Japan protests over a bilateral territorial dispute.

The government's subsidy program for the purchase of environmentally friendly cars, which ended in September, also supported the automaker's domestic sales, it said.

The figure includes sales by Daihatsu Motor Co., and truck and bus maker Hino Motors Ltd.

Toyota retained top spot in the rankings for three years from 2008 but was overtaken by General Motors in 2011, affected by supply chain disruption in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan as well as massive flooding in Thailand.

For 2013, Toyota set its group global sales target at 9.91 million units.

Meanwhile, Toyota's parent-only sales for 2012 increased 22.8 percent to a record 8.72 million vehicles. Of the total, sales in China dropped 4.9 percent to around 840,000 units amid the territorial dispute but logged all-time highs in Thailand, Indonesia and India, the company said.