Volkswagen Group sales may have surpassed Toyota's during the first quarter of 2009.
Forget Toyota. The Japanese maker’s brief reign as the world’s best-selling automaker may already be over. For the first quarter of 2009, at least, the new king-of-the-hill is Volkswagen AG. But the silver lining is surrounded by at least a few gray clouds.
VW increased its market share to 11.0% from 9.7% for the first quarter. Despite the worldwide market for automobiles shrinking more than 20% in the first quarter of the year, 1.39 million vehicles were delivered, an 11.4% drop from the same period in 2008 of 1.57 million.
Detlef Wittig, EVP group sales and marketing proclaimed, “Our young and efficient model range, with some 180 different vehicles, is paying off. Our portfolio contains exactly the cars which are in demand by customers.”
The AG’s dominant brand, VW, saw its world market share grow 1.1 points to 7.4%, with first quarter sales of 876,000, a 4.8% decline. The Audi and Škoda brands each reported a 0.1% increase in market share, while SEAT’s share remained stable.
VW’s North American operations upped its market share a solid 1.0 point to 3.7%. In the U.S., the Group delivered 58,300 vehicles. That was down 19.3%, but considering the overall market, VW put in a better performance than the average of the competition, with the overall American market declining 38.4% during the quarter.
Optimistically, Wittig said, “During this year we will be debuting around 60 new models, product enhancements and successors with highly-efficient, low-consumption engines. With this model roll-out, we are very confident that we can, as planned, perform significantly better than the competition in 2009.”
Nice spin, right? Looking at preliminary numbers Toyota is/could/maybe going to lose it’s #1 position … for the first quarter, anyway. But, remember, it takes four quarters to make a fiscal year. And not all is well in Wolfsburg. (more…)