World’s biggest battery skeptic again is world’s largest automaker.

With Japanese OEMs having posted their 2023 sales today, the World’s Largest Automaker ranking is official. Toyota Group 1st, Volkswagen Group 2nd , Hyundai Group 3rd. The ranking is no surprise, at least not to folks who consistently track the output of global OEMs. As far as Dailykanban is concerned, we’ve called the 2023 results as early as February 2023. Well, not quite: The tight race for 2nd place we predicted did not happen. Volkswagen received a new CEO, Oliver Blume, and with him in charge, the group got its act together.  After disappointing deliveries in the earlier months, Volkswagen Group finished the year with its output up nearly 12% YoY, some 2 million units behind Toyota Group, and some 2 million units ahead of #3 Hyundai Group.

Ichiban Toyota Group handily met and beat its 2023 forecast. At the beginning of the year, the Group predicted sales of 10.6 million units for the year, with the caveat that it could be 10% lower if the chip shortage would continue. It did not, and Toyota Group ended calendar 2023 with global deliveries of 11.2 million units sold, some 600,000 more than planned.

We’ve said it a few times already, but it is worth repeating: World’s largest automaker again is world’s biggest battery skeptic. Toyota’s Chairman Akio Toyoda has never been a big fan of pure BEVs, something seen as pure heresy by Tesla types, journalists, and NGOs. True to their faith, militant Musk zealots still pronounce the imminent bankruptcy of Toyota, never mind Toyota’s humungous sales and fat margins.

When global EV sales began lagging in the later part of last year, a proud Toyoda announced that people are “finally seeing reality” on EVs. A few days ago, Toyoda was doubling down on his bearish forecast, predicting that just three in 10 cars on the road will be powered by a battery, in line with his  predictions in 2021.  

Interestingly, the usual howls of protest did not happen as media and public were focused on Elon Musk’s tepid forecasts and the subsequent crash of Tesla’s shares.

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