Volkswagen AG, the company that ended 2016 as the world’s largest automaker, continues to show a lack of follow-through. Three months into the year, the Germans fell back to place three. It does not surprise that formerly largest automaker Toyota regained the leadership. The astonishing part is that a dark horse is in second place. With Mitsubishi under its belt, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has upset the top three, and even more surprising, it is nipping at the heels of #1 Toyota.
If you have been dying to find out whether Toyota defended its title of World’s Largest Automaker in 2016, or whether Volkswagen fulfilled its dream of becoming the world’s largest, you now have the official answer: This year, World’s Largest Automaker is whoever you want it to be. Volkswagen has beat Toyota. Or maybe not.
This will be a long story, full of numbers. If your eyes glaze over already, I will let you go with the news that Volkswagen is finally ahead of Toyota — if you believe the published numbers. If you share my perverse fetish for car counting, and if you read the rest of the story, expect your beliefs to be shaken.
Tis the season when “global sales crowns” are passed-out to automakers. The OEMs usually suffer the coronation without comment. Officially, they don’t care about the ranking. Or so they claim. Hence, you won’t hear them complain when the crowns are passed out to the wrong automaker, as it happened in the past. To avoid repeated offenses, here a short primer on car counting. This year, two carmakers, Toyota and Volkswagen, are in extremely tight contention, and with an impending photo-finish, exacting work has become more important than ever.
Volkswagen delivered 10.3 million vehicles worldwide in 2016, the company said today in an emailed statement. With that, it most likely missed its hallowed target of becoming World’s Largest Automaker by the thinnest of hairs. VW’s pet enemy Toyota, world’s number one automaker since Japan recovered from the Tohoku earthquake, will announce its 2016 data by the end of the month. However, the company told me on December 15, 2016 that it plans to produce 10.366 million units in 2016, and Toyota rarely misses these estimates, especially not when it knows how many cars it will crank out in the next two weeks.
Who will be the world’s largest automaker by the end of the year? As the race between global giants Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG gets increasingly tighter, the answer likely will remain in doubt for months to come. Earlier in the year, Toyota was out-delivered by Volkswagen, and the supposedly dieselgate-doomed German automaker had a clear shot at reaching its declared target and become the world’s largest. Today, the picture changed. After a sudden push in August deliveries, Toyota now leads VW – not by a whole lot, though.
At halftime 2016, Volkswagen AG, scandal-rocked as it may be, still leads Toyota in the race for World’s Largest Automaker. With all three global giants having reported its global deliveries, Volkswagen is some 80,000 units ahead of Toyota. General Motors GM -3.90% is 360,000 units behind Volkswagen, and it definitely has long ceased being a factor in the race for the top spot.
Volkswagen AG reached a goal it held dear since 2009 – to become the world’s largest automaker. In January, the German automaker delivered 847,000 units worldwide, bypassing number one Toyota Motor Corp, which produced 801,614 in the same month. The triumph, however, is likely to be fleeting.
Last summer, and in a Dewey vs. Truman moment, media around the world crowned Volkswagen as the world’s largest automaker. The game is not decided at halftime, and when Toyota published its official 2015 results today, Volkswagen AG found itself in the same place it started the year, namely 2nd-rated behind global juggernaut Toyota Motor Co. As much as I hate to say I told you so, but I did. [Continue Reading]