Volkswagen Becomes Leader of Global Auto Sales
Volkswagen has taken the top spot as the bestselling automaker in the world for just the first time. The Germany-based automaker was propelled to the top spot thanks to a surge in demand across China, which for the most part was not affected by the company’s diesel-engine cheating scandal.
VW vehicle sales reached 10.3 million for 2016, which set a new record for the automaker. It outpaced that of all rivals with an increase of 3.8% from the prior year.
Global sales at Toyota, including Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor, increased just 0.2% for the year ending at 10.2 million for 2016, said the automaker based in Japan on Monday.
Dethroning Toyota for the global crown in auto sales is a bittersweet culmination to an aggressive expansion that Martin Winterkorn the former CEO started a decade ago.
While increasing demand throughout China and the popularity of its upscale brands Porsche and Audi boosted sales worldwide, its VW namesake brand lost European market share, which is its second largest market, after the diesel-engine cheating scandal broke in 2015.
Deliveries for the VW group in 2016 increased by 12.2% across China, where the company scandal never was an issue due to the automaker selling nearly no vehicles with diesel engines there.
Sales across Europe were up by 4%, which was less than the overall industry while, the fallout from the crisis hurt its demand in the United States and recessions cut into sales in South American and Russia.
The sales tax increase on vehicles with small engines will weigh on its deliveries in China this year, which is the largest national market for the company, while in Germany, its backyard, the VW namesake brand began scaling back it leasing fleet for employees, which slowed growth.
The brand represented nearly 6 million of the deliveries for the group on a global scale in 2016, and it is targeting 3 million sales of vehicles this year in China.
Sales at Toyota in 2016 lagged behind VW for the most part due to its China and U.S. performance with demand for the Camry sedan, its flagship vehicle, waning across the U.S. and sales across China growing at less of a pace than the market as a whole.
Toyota will have to contend with trade tensions that could possibly come to fruition because of U.S. President Donald Trump pressuring foreign vehicle makers to manufacture more vehicles in the United States.