World’s Largest Automakers shake off COVID, Toyota extends its lead over Volkswagen, 10 mln again doable

In April, World’s Largest Automakers have resolutely recovered from the effects of the COVID-crisis, with Toyota and Volkswagen up 30% in their January through April sales compared to the same period last year.

Even the constant laggard Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi shows sudden signs of life. Renault is up 22%, Nissan 26%. Mitsu, up only 0.6%,  remains at crisis levels.

Once more, #1 Toyota extends its lead over 2nd place Volkswagen Group. Toyota now is some 380,000 units ahead of VW, and Volkswagen will have to work awfully hard to catch up. Interestingly, while the published environment is all about electric vehicles, in the real world, the recovering vigor of BEV-skeptic Toyota exceeds that of recent BEV-convert Volkswagen and EV-pioneer Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.  Let’s not even mention the comparatively homeopathic sales of loudmouth Tesla.

30% growth may sound impressive, but do not forget, this is compared to a last year period that was a near total write-off, with factories closed and customers in quarantine. What is more telling is the rightmost column in the table above. If Toyota and Volkswagen maintain their current trajectories, they should be back to their 10 million units per year glory of years past. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, not so much.

General caveat:  Daily Kanban is now ranking global automakers by sales. We used to rank them by production, because this was how the global automaker umbrella association OICA has done it in the past. OICA seems to have thrown-in the towel, and you no longer will find any recent automaker rankings on the previously authoritative OICA website, neither by production, nor by sales. Reliable production data are harder and harder to come by, forcing us to switch to sales/delivery data published by automakers. Be aware that “deliveries” can be a rather elastic term. Deliveries can be sales to end users, or cars dumped on dealer lots, or cars “delivered” to sales organizations, or combinations thereof.

Also, please note that Mitsubishi Motors does not publish global sales, only domestic sales in Japan. For that reason, we are forced to use Mitsubishi’s published global production data as a proxy. Speaking of the Alliance, their number reporting is not allied at all, and a common picture requires considerable Excel machinations. Nissan and Mitsubishi report sales and production, Renault only reports deliveries. Mitsubishi does not report global sales, Nissan does.

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