Toyota Motors no longer holds the title of being the largest automaker in the world, after being passed up for the title by Volkswagen for 2016. Volkswagen managed to make it to the top spot despite all of their recent scandals and negative publicity.
The capturing of the crown is bittersweet accomplishment for Volkswagen, attributed mostly to the booming of sales in China. The company had originally set their sights to see the crown by the year 2018. While the company has hit a major goal an entire year early, all of their attention is still focused on the emission scandals and other company-related issues at hand. The company recently agreed to pay $22 billion in settlements and plead guilty to criminal charges over the admission of the technology the company used to cheat on the emissions tests.
The title can be deceiving though – just because the company makes the most cars does not mean it is the most profitable company. The CEO of Volkswagen, Matthias Mueller, recently said that the company would no longer make volume one of its main goals. Being crowned with the title, however, is still a notable achievement for the company.
Volkswagen sold 10.31 million vehicles worldwide in 2016, up 3.8 percent from the previous year. Late Sunday, Toyota announced that it sold 10.18 million vehicles, up 0.2 percent from the previous year but still not enough to snag the spot from Volkswagen.
Toyota gained the crown in 2008, after winning it from GM, who had held the crown for decades.
As previously noted, China’s booming market was the main incident that led to Volkswagen snatching the crown. In China, the company is the largest seller of new vehicles. Volkswagen sold 3.98 million vehicles in China in 2016. This figure was up 12.2 percent for the year. While the market was booming in China, sales fell slightly in the United States. Sales fell 2.6 percent for the year in the U.S. The companies Europe sales rose 4 percent, they sold 4.21 million units in 2016.
This year, China could surpass Europe as the largest market for Volkswagens. Global brands offered by Volkswagen include the flagship VW, luxury line Audi and sports car brand Porsche.
Despite losing its crown for the largest automaker in the world, Toyota still remains one of the most envied automakers in the world. Toyota is still envied for its efficient production and strong profit margins.