Fleeting glory: Volkswagen solidly world’s second-ranked automaker



We were skeptical when the crowd crowned Volkswagen world’s largest automaker two months ago, and it looks like VW won’t be king of the hill when the year ends. As of August, and some 50,000 units ahead of Volkswagen, Toyota remains world’s largest automaker.

World’s Largest Automakers
8 Month 2014
Jan-Aug 2015 Jan-Aug 2014 YoY 2015 proj.
Toyota 6,599,643 6,821,292 -3.2% 9,899,000
Volkswagen 6,550,000 6,640,000 -1.4% 9,825,000
GM 6,481,333 6,562,667 -1.2% 9,722,000
Source: Company data. VW: Deliveries. Toyota: Production.  Blue: Estimate

Toyota released global August data today, Volkswagen did a few weeks ago. The January through August results were not affected by any diesel shenanigans yet. Looking forward, the impact most likely won’t be as huge as thought by some, but it won’t help either.

Currently, our year-end projections of both Toyota and VW hover below the 10 million mark. Automakers are faced with car sales peaking globally. Toyota has pulled the brakes a little while ago. With Mueller at the helm at Volkswagen, the company is no longer under pressure to fulfill Winterkorn’s Strategie 2018, which planned a victory over Toyota. Therefore, the company also should not be under pressure to cheat with sales numbers, as it did in China, if the usually reliable hallway radio was correct.

Note: Dailykanban.com tracks production, not sales, because this is how the world automaker umbrella organization OICA ranks automakers.

Toyota reports both sales and production, we take production. Volkswagen reports “deliveries” to wholesale – which is, at least for this exercise, close enough to production. GM did the same, but begun reporting retail sales for the Chinese market. GM reports global numbers only quarterly, forcing us to interpolate.