Volkswagen Group managed to trim down the sales of Toyota Motor Corp. in the first nine months of 2014, which means that the battle for the crown as the No. 1 carmaker in the world will be a hard one in the last quarter of the year. According to calculations by Bloomberg News based on company announcements, VW Group has managed to cut Toyota’s lead to just around 72,000 vehicles, compared with 227,000 a year earlier.
Volkswagen’s total deliveries jumped 5 percent in the first nine months of 2014 to around 7.54 million cars and trucks. On the other hand, Toyota's overall deliveries rose 2.8 percent in the same period to 7.62 million vehicles. The two carmakers are both benefitting from different markets: China for Volkswagen and the United States for Toyota.
Both carmakers are expecting to sell over 10 million vehicles this year. Sascha Gommel, an analyst at Commerzbank AG, told Bloomberg by phone that it is a “close call” on which carmaker will come up on top. He noted that the final ranking will depend on which market -- China or the US -- “softens first."
VW Group's deliveries include the Porsche and Audi luxury divisions and MAN and Scania heavy-truck units while Toyota's also covers the Daihatsu minicar and Hino truck brands.
General Motors, meanwhile, logged a 2-percent surge in sales in the first three quarters of 2014 to 7.37 million vehicles. Possible effects of the Takata airbag recalls in the past two months have yet to come to Toyota and GM, who are among 10 carmakers calling back 7.8 million vehicles in the US.
Volkswagen isn't affected by the Takata recall. The German carmaker, however, is recalling 1.02 million Jetta, Beetle and New Sagitar cars in the US and China due to a possible suspension glitch.
VW’s Audi unit is urging A4 sedan and station wagon customers to bring a total of 850,000 units to fix faulty airbag software.