Its official! Toyota Motor Corp. remains the largest carmaker in the world, after outselling closest rival Volkswagen AG in calendar year 2014. Toyota’s overall sales last year, including that of its Daihatsu and Hino units, surged 3 percent to 10.23 vehicles in calendar year 2014. Volkswagen, meanwhile, sold 10.14 million.
This marks that first time that Toyota and Volkswagen topped 10 million in vehicle sales. General Motors Co., which used to be the largest a few years ago, was at third after jumping 2 percent to 9.92 million vehicles.
Toyota, however, is expecting a decline in global sales this calendar year as it sees slower demand in Japan and emerging markets, opening a door of opportunity for VW to overtake the Japanese carmaker as early as 2015.
For this year, Toyota expects domestic sales to drop 9 percent 2.1 million units and volume outside Japan to jump 2 percent to 8.06 million vehicles. VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn has big plans for his company – becoming the largest carmaker in the world by 2018 with sales topping 10 million vehicles.
He, however, managed to achieve 10 million vehicle sales in 2014 or five years ahead of schedule and VW may become the global sales leader this 2015 or four years earlier than he envisioned.
Toyota’s growth was actually derailed in 2011, when it was badly hit Japan earthquake-tsunami disaster affected its production capability. Prior to that, it was leading the auto world in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It regained the crown in 2012 and managed to defend it in 2013 and 2014. GM, meanwhile, had held the title for almost 80 years until 2007 and grabbed it momentarily in 2011.