Automobiles have become something of a necessity for most human beings around the world. And considering that there are an estimated 1 billion plus cars driving on roads the world over, it’s safe to say that the automobile isn’t going anywhere any time soon. In fact, business is booming, at least for certain manufacturers. For other manufacturers, times are a bit tougher.
According to a report from Marketwatch, Volkswagen has officially become the world’s largest automaker, narrowly beating out Toyota. VW’s worldwide sales totaled 10.3 million last year, compared to Toyota’s 10.2 million. This new shift in position ends Toyota’s 4 year streak at number one.
While Toyota’s global sales did, in fact, rise 0.2 percent from the previous year, it was not enough to retain the throne. Meanwhile, VW has seen a healthy rise in sales across the globe, particularly in China, with a 12.2 percent rise in group deliveries. VW’s growth is somewhat surprising, considering its recent emissions test scandal, which resulted in a loss of market share in Europe.
Meanwhile, Toyota’s market share loss can be ultimately blamed on its waning performance in the U.S. and China. Toyota’s flagship Camry model has lost the interest of Americans and sales in China are simply growing at a slower pace.
In an effort to combat dipping sales, the Japanese auto company is redesigning its Camry model with a much more aggressive and “sexy” look in order to attract younger buyers.
In a recent report from Bloomberg, Sascha Gommel, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Commerzbank AG, gave her insight on the situation, and VW’s prospects of retaining its lead. “The development of the U.S. market is set to decide if VW can stay ahead of Toyota this year. If the Chinese and European markets continue to be solid and the U.S. market weakens as I expect, VW might stay first in 2017 as Toyota has a larger exposure to North America.”
While VW continues to enjoy its growth and newfound title, Toyota will continue to regain its footing and attempt to reclaim the number one spot. I am very interested to see who will claim the top position this year. Stay tuned for any updates!