For the first time, Toyota has gained the title of world's second-largest car maker in the third quarter, as it outsold Ford by 166,000 vehicles, according to Reuters. While Ford still holds the year-to-date sales lead by a slim margin, its forecast of lower fourth-quarter production might make it possible for Toyota to claim the title for all of 2003, the report added. According to data from Toyota's financial results, it sold 1,576,000 vehicles worldwide in the third quarter, while Ford sold 1,410,000, Reuters said, noting that Toyota's sales include its Hino and Daihatsu units, while Ford's sales include its foreign luxury brands - Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin. For the first nine months of 2003, Ford still ranks as the world's second largest car maker -- behind General Motors Corp. -- with a lead of about 28,000 vehicles, with 4,844,000 sold to Toyota's 4,818,000, the report added. Reuters noted that the third quarter is typically the weakest for U.S. carmakers, as they shut down factories for holidays and new model changeovers but Ford's third-quarter global sales were down 15 percent, due to sluggish sales in Europe, the elimination of slow-selling models in the United States and the lack of new products -- all problems Toyota has not had. To the end of October, Toyota was the top-selling passenger car brand in the United States, with sales up 5.4 percent, while the Ford brand, which held the title for many years, was down 7.6 percent over the same period, Reuters said. While Ford has not projected sales for all of 2003, it has estimated its fourth-quarter production would fall 26,000 vehicles to 1.545 million, the report noted.