Toyota Knocked off the Top Spot by Volkswagen

Published Date: 7th Feb 2017

Japanese car maker Toyota failed to beat Volkswagen in Global sales for 2016, falling short by around 130,000 vehicles

German Car-Giant Volkswagen sold more vehicles globally than Japanese rival Toyota for 2016, taking the crown as the world's largest carmaker in the process, the 1st time VW group has achieved this feat. Toyota owns Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors and all together they reported global group sales were up 0.2 per cent from 2015 to 10.17 million vehicles. VW's total sales around the world in the same period stood at 10.3 million vehicles, up 3.8 per cent from 2015, this was despite the emissions cheating scandal, the German Manufacturer announced earlier this month.

Even though the emissions scandal has tarnished its reputation and triggered a multitude of lawsuits, VW has maintained sales in part by offering incentives to buyers in the United States and other markets while it repositions its business by investing in electric cars and on-demand transport services.

While sales of its mass-market VW brand have suffered, this has been more than offset by strong demand for luxury makes Audi and Porsche models as well as Czech brand Skoda.

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This is the 1st time that Toyota has fallen from the top spot since 2011, back when the Japanese car-makers' supply chains were sent into chaos by a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami in north-eastern Japan. 2016 saw Toyota's sales outside of Japan fall half a per cent from a year earlier, to 7.94 million; this was due to a fall in exports to the US, which is the car-giant's largest market.

Toyota downplayed its relinquishment of the title to VW by releasing the following statement -

"At Toyota, we are not focused on chasing volume. We believe that our sales volume is just the result of our focus on making ever-better cars and providing better customer experiences," the carmaker announced. "Our goal is to be No 1 with consumers by engineering and producing ever-better cars. We are grateful to every customer who has chosen a Toyota vehicle," they added.

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In September 2015, the German carmaker admitted it had installed equipment aimed at manipulating pollution tests on about 11 million diesel models around the world. The scandal has so far cost Europe's biggest carmaker billions of euros and led to the indictment of six of its senior executives in the United States. The company also faces damage claims from investors totalling 7.5 billion pounds (9.42 billion dollars) and is in talks with customers over mass recalls and also compensation deals.

In third place is General Motors but they only release global sales data quarterly. And until they release results for the final quarter of 2016, we have to estimate, so GM is out of contention.