Volkswagen AG has overtaken Toyota as the largest automaker by deliveries in the first half of this year. While Toyota sold 5.02 million vehicles through June, VW has reported 5.04 million sales, putting it on track to gain the worldwide sales crown three years ahead of its target.
General Motors, the third-biggest automaker by global sales, delivered 4.86 million vehicles in the first six months of this year, down 1.2 percent over the same period last year. VW saw its sales increase in its domestic market and in the rest of Western Europe by more than 6 percent, while Toyota’s registrations in Europe climbed 5.7 percent during the period.
VW sales in China, the company’s biggest market, fell 3.9 percent to 1.74 million, while Toyota boosted sales by 10 percent to 512,800 vehicles. In the United States, Toyota’s deliveries rose 5.6 percent, while the VW, Audi and Porsche brands combined increased sales by 2.4 percent.
Both Toyota and VW struggled in Japan during the first half, as a consequence of last year’s sales-tax increase. Deliveries fell 8.2 percent for the Toyota and Lexus brands and 13 percent for Daihatsu, while VW sales plunged 17 percent for VW.
Automotive analysts expect the race between VW and Toyota will be a very close one. The global auto industry faces a stagnating market in China, collapsing demand in Russia and weakness in some Southeast Asian and South American markets. Overall deliveries in the US rose just 4.4 percent during the first half of the year, the smallest gain since the recovery began.
Story references: Bloomberg