Toyota Motor has finally achieved the once unthinkable – it has pushed one of America’s ‘big three’ carmakers into fourth place.

According to data released last week, the Japanese manufacturer sold 200,482 vehicles in August, an 11.4% rise year-on-year. In contrast, sales at Chrysler Group – the smallest of the leading trio behind Ford Motor Company and General Motors – dipped 6% to 190,388.

This is the first time one of the big three has been outsold by foreign competition. Despite their huge discounts and financing deals, the Detroit trio’s combined share fell to an all-time low of 57.9% as GM sales stayed flat and Ford tumbled 13%.

In contrast, overseas firms Honda Motor, Nissan Motor, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and BMW all achieved record market shares last month. Overall, car sales fell around 1%.

But despite August’s success, Toyota is not confident of holding on to third place. Its dealers are now almost sold out of vehicles, giving Chrysler the opportunity to regain the initiative this month.

Data sourced from: International Herald Tribune; additional content by WARC staff