Toyota Motor Corp is headed for a fall of sorts.
The Japanese auto giant is expected to slip to third in worldwide sales of new vehicles, according to an analysis by Japan Times. General Motors, long the world’s largest automaker, is expected to slip into fourth place when all the sales numbers are available later this month.
Toyota surrendered its position as the as the world’s largest automaker in 2016 as Volkswagen AG, thanks to the German automaker’s strong sales in China and economic recovery in Europe, moved into first place.
Meanwhile, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has tightened its grip on the second spot, based on sales data available for the first 11 months through November, according to Japan Times.
In the 11-month period, worldwide sales of Toyota group brands rose 2.8% from a year earlier to 9,474,000 vehicles, while Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker in 2016, increased sales by 3.9% to 9,743,400 vehicles.
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The combined sales of the Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors and Renault alliance were estimated at 9,601,916 vehicles.
Volkswagen’s sales have been brisk in the Chinese and European markets, and the trend is likely to continue in December.
The annual sales of the Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors and Renault alliance are also expected to surpass Toyota’s, bolstered by robust overseas markets and despite Nissan’s domestic sales being hurt by an inspection scandal involving uncertified workers conducting final tests, Japan Times noted.
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Toyota’s domestic sales fared well but were almost flat from a year earlier in the key U.S. market, where its sedans struggled with the popularity of big sport utility vehicles and trucks as gasoline prices remained around a six-year low.
For 2017, the Toyota group has upgraded its sales forecast by 102,000 vehicles to a record high 10,354,000, up 2% from 2016 and the highest since 2014 when it sold 10,231,000 cars.
In 2016, General Motors Co. ranked third in global sales and the Nissan-Renault alliance fourth.
Mitsubishi Motors’ sales become part of the same alliance after Nissan bought a 34% stake in late October 2016.
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General Motors has not yet announced its sales for the 11-month period. But it could fall to fourth by sales in 2017 as its global sales for the nine months through September fell 2.2% from the corresponding period last year. In addition, GM has given up on the European market, selling its European operations to PSA in a deal that closed last summer.