Volkswagen Surpasses Toyota as World’s Biggest Automaker
July 29, 2015—Volkswagen took Toyota’s spot as the world’s largest automaker in the first half of 2015, according to a report from USA Today.
Volkswagen sold 5.04 million vehicles in the first six months of the year. Toyota sold 5.02 million. General Motors, which once held the world’s top automaker spot, is now third, according to the report, although it has not yet released its official first-half stats.
"It’s certainly bragging rights, and being able to communicate that they’re the largest automaker in the world is a powerful statement," said Tom Libby, an IHS Automotive analyst, according to USA Today. "It’s certainly something they’re going to promote."
Whether or not Volkswagen can hold the No. 1 title for the full year is unknown.
"I think the race for volume is the wrong race. I think the race for profitability is the right race," AutoTrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs told USA Today. "So if I were running an automaker that’s the number I would be looking at. Because sales volume you can buy."
Toyota dropping to the No. 2 spot has not phased the auto company.
Volkswagen has done well globally, but struggles in the U.S. Experts in the industry say the brand lacks selection and has lagged on quality. U.S. sales of the Volkswagen brand fell 10 percent in 2014, despite a 5.9 percent gain in overall industry sales. For the first six months of 2015, Volkswagen brand sales fell 2.6 percent, compared to a 4.4 percent increase for the overall industry. In contrast, U.S. sales for Toyota rose 5.8 percent in 2014 and 5.2 percent for the first half of 2015.
The U.S. market is one of the only areas that Volkswagen seems to struggle in. The company has claimed the top spot in China and remains dominant in Europe.