Toyota Ousts VW to Take Top Spot in Car Market
Japanese manufacturer Toyota has once again become the world’s most prolific auto-maker
Toyota has stripped German rival VW over the course of 2015 to sell just under 7.5 million vehicles internationally, according to the Independent.
By comparison, VW managed to shift 7.43 million cars in the same period, with analysts pointing out that there will likely be more issues for the firm to deal with as the impact of the emissions scandal continues to be felt.
Industry expert Koji Endo explained to Bloomberg that VW is not only facing issues in North America and Europe as a result of having been found guilty of cheating emissions tests on a huge scale, but is also having to cope with decreased demand elsewhere, particularly in potentially huge emerging markets such as China.
This is effectively going to give Toyota a significant advantage for the foreseeable future, meaning it will not only come out on top in 2015 but could continue to dominate in terms of global sales next year and beyond.
The negative publicity generated by VW’s ongoing emissions scandal is clearly the cause of its sales slipping below those of Toyota, as between January and July of 2015 it was actually ahead of its Japanese competitor. In the interim, its reputation has been damaged so significantly that it seems to have lost out on several hundred thousand sales, with the full extent of the fallout from the incident yet to become clear.
Meanwhile, Toyota is wasting no time in capitalising on its fortunate position, with the company confirming that it is going on a recruitment drive which will see its workforce expanded by up to 1400. This will enable it to manufacture new cars at a quicker rate and fill the gap in demand left by VW’s fall from grace.
One of the fresh weapons in Toyota’s arsenal is the latest edition of its seminal hybrid range, the Prius. Having been on the market for almost two decades, the arrival of the fourth-generation Prius is particularly well timed given the circumstances that are impacting Toyota’s biggest rival.
Appearing at the Frankfurt motor show last month, the new Prius has a fresh exterior design which gives it a longer, more stylish appearance than the stocky models that have come before. And the all-important combination of a traditional engine with a pair of electric motors has been enhanced to deliver a claimed fuel-efficiency rating of 90mpg.
Toyota has even added four-wheel-drive capabilities to the new Prius, which are of course delivered via the electric motors and will only be active when travelling at speeds slower than 37mph, making it ideal for taking on potentially dangerous conditions.
American manufacturer GM remains in third place in terms of sales, with 7.2 million new cars finding new owners internationally - a one per cent year-on-year decline, according to CNBC.
GM was a global leader in car sales for over 70 years, but the financial crisis which struck in 2008 gave Toyota the opportunity to overtake it. VW had threatened to secure the crown in 2015, following strong sales in 2014, but the emissions scandal has left it significant weakened, and by the end of the year it may even be overtaken by GM if things fail to improve.
Toyota itself has not been free of controversy in recent weeks, with critics questioning why so many of its vehicles have been appearing in the hands of militant groups in the Middle East. And with a recall of 6.5 million cars which feature a faulty switch that could become a fire hazard, Toyota’s position at the top of the market is as precarious as any of its rivals.
It would be unwise to write off VW completely, especially given that the strength of its brand seems such that it should be capable of weathering the storm in which it is currently trapped.