For the fourth year in a row, Toyota reigns as the top automaker in the world, edging out its closest rival the Volkswagen Group. It is also the only company that earned the distinction of delivering more than 10 million vehicles in 2015.
Toyota Group, which includes Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor, sold a total of 10.15 million vehicles which represents a 0.8 % drop compared with the year-ago figure. On second place is Volkswagen having reported 9.9 million units in sales, which include its MAN and Scania brands, and is a 2% drop from previous year level.
General Motors placed third in the round up, having delivered 9.8 million vehicles representing a 0.2 % increase. The Volkswagen group led the race in the first half of 2015 but was overtaken in the second half by Toyota after sales fell due to its emissions scandal.
As a result on emission problems discovered in its diesel units, Volkswagen was forced to repair around 11 million vehicles and even had to stop sales of its diesel units in some countries. Coupled with already declining Chinese sales, the German company lost its steam after the scandal surfaced where it was discovered that the company used devices to cheat exhaust tests.
This caused the resignation of former CEO Marin Winkerkorn. According to Zhou Jincheng, a Nagoya-based analyst and researcher at Fourin Inc., Toyota’s dominance will remain unchallenged for the next few years, considering the big impact the scandal has on Volkswagen’s reputation.
It will take time for Volkswagen to implement a newer strategy for the US and European markets. This will result to a wider gap between the two giants in the short term. On the other hand, Toyota is contemplating the option of gaining full control of Daihatsu, which it currently owns a 51% stake in.
This will give Toyota full control in its substantial minicar share in Japan as well as its compact cars operations in Indonesia and Malaysia. If successfully completed, it would virtually secure the enviable bragging rights of winning five times in a row. Another trick up its sleeve is Toyota’s introduction of the new Prius, its first redesign in seven years.
This top-selling hybrid comes with automatic emergency braking and an improved fuel economy. The end is still not in sight for Volkswagen’s woes, with the scheduled recall in Europe to start this month.
Meanwhile its US sales have been on hold as the company and the US regulators are still working out an agreement. The company has allocated a 6.7 billion euro budget ($7.3 billion) for possible lawsuits, repairs on engines as well as regulatory fines.