While Europe tanks, Volkswagen beats GM in China – race for World‘s Largest Automaker tight

Wolfsburg | Wolfsburg

Defying deep misery in its home market Europe, Volkswagen grows its sales elsewhere. Powered by strong gains in the Asia-Pacific and North American regions, Group sales were up 5.1 percent for the January through July period. In the month of July, the Volkswagen Group eked out a 3.2 percent gain in Group deliveries. Meanwhile, Volkswagen did beat GM in China by a hair, and the race for World’s Largest Automaker promises to be thrilling through the rest of the year.

While the fact that Volkswagen Passenger Car sales dropped half a percent in July received major headlines and snide remarks, an important milestone remained unreported – so far: The Volkswagen Group passed GM in the important battleground China. Volkswagen reports 1.79 million as group sales in the first seven months, while GM claims 1,788,972 units as sold in the Middle Kingdom for the same period. Of course, the Volkswagen number is rounded, and rounding the GM sales, the two are neck-on-neck. In July, Volkswagen sold 250,000 units in China, while GM sold 221,580. Both groups report strong sales from China, with Volkswagen up 18.5 percent in the first seven months, and GM up 10.7 percent.

Volkswagen Group Sales July 2013
7M’13 7M’12 YoY Jul’13 Jul’12 YoY
Total 5,450,000 5,190,000 5.1% 757,700 734,500 3.2%
Europe 2,160,000 2,230,000 -3.1% 290,000 300,000 -3.3%
WEurExD 1,120,000 1,150,000 -2.6% 150,000 140,000 7.1%
Germany 678,900 708,100 -4.1% 95,000 102,000 -6.9%
EEUr 365,400 376,300 -2.9% 52,400 53,400 -1.9%
Russia 175,000 180,100 -2.9% 25,100 27,500 -8.7%
North America 512,600 457,900 11.9% 74,700 68,100 9.7%
USA 356,800 324,200 10.1% 52,900 49,000 8.0%
South Am 523,500 566,500 -7.6% 73,000 97,000 -24.7%
Brazil 386,300 425,200 -9.2% 53,500 78,100 -31.5%
Asia-Pacific 2,000,000 1,720,000 16.6% 270,000 240,000 12.5%
China 1,790,000 1,510,000 18.5% 250,000 210,000 19.0%
India 56,600 69,400 -18.4% 7,400 8,500 -12.9%
Source: Volkswagen.  Blue: Calculated from file data

Europe, where Volkswagen still has about 40 percent of its sales, is a drag on the company’s sales. Deliveries in the European market were down 3.1 percent for the first seven months and 3.3 percent for the month of July, both compared to the same period in the previous year.

Volkswagen Group Sales July 2013
7M’13 7M’12 YoY Jul’13 Jul’12 YoY
Volkswagen Passenger 3,380,000 3,260,000 3.7% 470,000 470,000 0.0%
Audi 911,800 852,800 6.9% 131,300 119,600 9.8%
Porsche 95,300 13,700
ŠKODA 534,300 565,600 -5.5% 69,700 72,600 -4.0%
SEAT 212,100 189,200 12.1% 30,000 25,900 15.8%
Volkswagen Commercial 316,600 317,400 -0.2% 45,900 47,300 -3.0%
Source: Volkswagen.  Blue: Calculated from file data

According to CNBC, China “has become a proxy for the battle the companies are waging to be the global leader in auto sales.” GM has not announced is global sales for July, Toyota will announce by the end of the month. Through the month of June, the leader board looked like this:

Tracking the world’s largest automakers
Jan-Jun 2013, full year forecast
6M’13 6M’12 YoY Proj ’13
Toyota 5,054,940 5,247,777 -3.7% 10,110,000
GM 4,853,000 4,670,000 3.9% 9,706,000
Volkswagen 4,886,000 4,681,000 4.4% 9,772,000
Black: Company data. Green: Projection, based on
last available
Toyota, VW: Production. GM: Sales

As you can see, Toyota is set to break the 10 million unit barrier by the end of the year, afact that the company acknowledged in recent forecasts. Unless a major accident happens, Toyota should end the year as the world’s largest automaker. The race for the number two slot is wide open. It can be won by Volkswagen or GM.