So far this year, Toyota Motor Corp. remains the largest carmaker in the world in terms of sales. But at the rate Volkswagen AG is growing, Toyota’s reign is seriously being threatened. Toyota recently announced that it posted a 3.8-percent surge in global sales in the first six months of 2014 to 5.097 million vehicles – a new record for the Japanese carmaker.
The Volkswagen group, meanwhile, grew 5.9 percent in the period to 4.97 million vehicles – the figure still excluding figures from truck makers Scania and MAN that will be published on July 31. Once all numbers are counted, VW may have already equaled or surpassed Toyota.
According to IHS Automotive, Volkswagen’s overall sales in the first half of 2014 could reach 5.07 million units. IHS had estimated Toyota to sell 4.83 million vehicles in the period. At third is erstwhile global leader General Motors, selling around 4.92 million units in the January-June period.
With Volkswagen currently on a hard push to expand in China and Toyota more focused on hiking the quality of its models, the possibility of the German carmaker taking over the top spot by the end of the year is not nil.
Yoshiaki Kawano, an analyst at IHS Automotive, noted that since China is the driving force of the global market, any company focused on that market could feel positive effects on its global sales performance.
Passenger-vehicle sales in China surged 11 percent in the first half of 2014 to 9.6 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Volkswagen has muscled its way to the acme of the Chinese auto market with an 18-percent growth to over 1.8 million, while GM is close behind after logging an 11-percent gain to 1.73 million.
Toyota grew 12 percent in China in the first six months of 2014 to 465,900 units. Volkswagen is planning an EUR18.2 billion ($24.4 billion) investment between 2014 and 2018 in new site and products with its Chinese joint venture partners.