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VW topples Toyota in global sales battle

American life: Toyota is now the fourth largest car manufacturer in the US behind American giants GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Japanese giant Toyota’s global sales slip behind Volkswagen Group in 2016

Volkswagen logo31 Jan 2017

THE Volkswagen Group has eclipsed Toyota Motor Corporation as the world’s best-selling auto-maker for the first time, beating its Japanese rival by about 100,000 units for the 2016 calendar year.

While VW released its sales results earlier in January, Toyota has only just revealed its production and sales numbers for 2016.

The German giant recorded overall sales of 10.31 million units last year from its stable of brands that includes Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Porsche, and the MAN and Scania truck divisions.

Toyota’s global total sales, which includes Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino products, hit 10.17 million units.

VW’s result represents an increase of 3.8 per cent compared with its 2015 tally of 9.93 million sales.

The result is welcome news for VW which has struggled to shake off negative perceptions following its admission in September 2015 that it used an emissions cheating device in a number of its VW, Skoda and Audi models.

VW Passenger Cars was the company’s biggest selling brand, with just under six million units sold, a 2.8 per cent increase over 2015, followed by Audi which grew by 3.8 per cent to 1.87 million sales, then Czech brand Skoda with 1.12 million units, a boost of 6.8 per cent.

Porsche’s global sales lifted by 5.6 per cent last year to reach a record 237,800, largely on the back of its successful Macan mid-size SUV, while the launch of the new-generation T6 Transporter helped lift VW Commercial Vehicles sales by 11.4 per cent over 2015 to 480,100.

Only the MAN truck brand took a dip, dropping by 0.2 per cent to 102,200 units, while “expected figures” for Scania were 80,800, a 5.5 per cent lift.

VW sales in North America were steady, rising just 0.8 per cent year on year, but registrations in China grew 12.2 per cent.

In Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe, sales increased by 3.4 and 7.0 per cent respectively, but interest in the brand took a big dive in South America, with a drop of 24.6 per cent.

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller acknowledged the difficulties the company was facing, but said that its future was looking bright.

“2016 was a very challenging year for us,” he said. “We made strides in resolving and overcoming the diesel crisis and at the same time initiated a fundamental change process with ‘Together – Strategy 2025’ to get Volkswagen ready for the future of mobility.

“Nonetheless, we managed to stabilise operating business in difficult conditions: the fact that we handed over more than 10 million vehicles to customers last year bolsters the Group and its brands as we head for the future.”

Toyota’s total was up just 0.2 per cent over its 2015 haul, with 2.23 million sales in its Japanese home market – a 2.8 per cent boost – and 7.94 million in the rest of the world.

Japanese production numbers were steady, but international production figures grew by 2.1 per cent, with Toyota now the fourth largest car manufacturer in the United States behind American car-makers GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The Japanese giant overtook its American rival General Motors as the top selling car-maker in 2008, breaking GM’s 77-year stronghold on the title.

GM is yet to release its 2016 sales results, but Ford Motor Company announced last week that it sold 6.65 million vehicles across the globe last year for its Ford and Lincoln brands.

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