World’s Largest Automakers: Toyota outdistances Volkswagen

Akio Toyoda TMS 2015 2 - picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Only a miracle could help Volkswagen reach its goal of becoming the world’s largest automaker this year, and miracles are in short supply in Wolfsburg. With October data by Toyota in, it looks like VW will miss its goal by more than 200,000 units when this year’s race is over.

World’s Largest Automakers
10 Month 2014
Jan-Oct 2015 Jan-Oct 2014 YoY 2015 proj.
Toyota 8,428,240 8,638,826 -2.4% 10,114,000
Volkswagen 8,262,000 8,403,500 -1.7% 9,914,000
GM 8,038,889 8,191,111 -1.9% 9,647,000
Source: Company data. GM, VW: Deliveries. Toyota: Production.  Blue: Estimate

If current trajectories will be followed, Toyota most likely will have produced more than 10 million units again by year’s end, while Volkswagen is likely to drop below the 10 million mark.

By the end of October, Toyota’s global output was 170,000 units higher than that of Volkswagen. #3 General Motors can only be estimated, due to the fact that the Detroit carmaker supplies global data only on a quarterly basis.

In July, many media outlets prematurely crowned Volkswagen world’s largest automaker, while the Dailykanban remained skeptical.

Volkswagen’s weakness is not so much a result of dieselgate, as some may surmise.  VW has a huge exposure to the Chinese market, and things haven’t been going so well in China this year. Any dieselgate-induced weaknesses should show up  in this month, and next.

Note: 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.