Toyota keeps the global sales crown after a record first half by Tom Huddleston, Jr. @FortuneMagazine July 30, 2014, 11:16 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Toyota just posted record car sales for the first half of 2014 as the Japanese automaker maintained a slim lead over Volkswagen for the global sales crown. Toyota TM sold an in-house record of 5.1 million vehicles in the first half, good for a 3.8% increase year-over-year, the company said Wednesday. The automaker outpaced Germany’s VW by more than 200,000 cars sold during the first half of the year. Outside of Japan, Toyota’s sales increased 2.9% to 3.8 million vehicles as production outside its home country hit record highs for the first half, increasing 3.8%. Bloomberg notes that the world’s leading automaker was helped by increased SUV sales in the U.S., with sales increasing for both the Toyota Highlander and RAV4 SUV models, as well as SUVs bearing the Lexus brand name — Toyota’s luxury division. For the month of June, Toyota increased its global vehicle production by 5% to more than 886,000 vehicles.