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Toyota Could Lose Sales Lead to VW This Year

Japanese giant plagued by problems in China.

by on Jan.26, 2015

A Toyota dealership in China was burned in 2012. Weak demand there could let VW pass the Japanese giant.

Toyota’s worldwide sales surged 3% last year, once again positioning the Japanese giant as the world’s top-selling automotive manufacturer. But with Toyota officials glumly anticipating a modest decline in 2015, the Japanese maker could cede leadership to its ambitious German rival Volkswagen AG.

Assign credit – or blame, if you prefer – to China. VW continues to dominate the world’s largest automotive market even while Toyota struggles to gain traction there. Japanese makers, in general, have had serious problems making headway in China, especially after tempers flared due a dispute between the two Asian nations over ownership of a chain of strategically placed islands.

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At one point, rioters burned a Toyota dealership and damaged 100s of Japanese vehicles. Sales have only slowly begun to recover, but Toyota’s sales in China are still barely a third of those of the market’s top two manufacturers, Volkswagen and General Motors.

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GM Slides to 3rd as VW Nabs 2nd Spot in Global Sales

Toyota firmly in the lead.

by on Oct.16, 2014

Vehicles like the new Golf "family" have helped Volkswagen grow sales worldwide.

For three-quarters of a century the world’s best-selling carmaker, General Motors has slipped another notch down the automotive ladder, Volkswagen AG pushing past to become number two in the industry pecking order.

With the first nine months of the year behind it, the German maker sold 7.4 million passenger vehicles compared to 7.37 million for GM. Though it hasn’t reported its numbers for the first three quarters yet, Japanese giant Toyota Motor Co. is expected to maintain its hold on the industry’s number one spot.

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Industry analysts say the real race, going forward, is likely to be between Toyota and VW, the German automaker laying out an aggressive expansion program it hopes will let it become king-of-the-automotive-hill before the end of the decade.

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VW Pushes to Top 10 Mil Global Sales – Despite U.S. Struggles

New U.S. plans could prove critical to catching Toyota.

by on Jul.14, 2014

Despite strong sales in China, VW isn't on pace to make its global sales target of more than 10 million vehicles this year, in part because U.S. sales are down.

Volkswagen AG fell a bit short of its ambitious push for global dominance during the first half of 2014, despite its strong and growing presence in China – and its weakness in the U.S. market is largely to blame.

VW reported its deliveries worldwide increased by 5.9%, to 4.97 million vehicles, though if it hadn’t suffered another decline in the American market it almost certainly would have broken the 5 million barrier, putting it well on its way to move 10 million cars, trucks and crossovers for all of 2014.

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But VW is taking steps to rectify its problem in the U.S., the maker on Monday announcing it will spend about $900 million to double the size of its current assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to handle production of the long-awaited midsize crossover based on its well-received CrossBlue Concept. (more…)

Who Really Won the Global Sales War?

GM or VW can each claim victory, depending on your math.

by on Jan.23, 2012

Did VW or GM win last year's global sales race? It depends on how you count.

There’s one fact that everyone seems to agree on: Toyota did not maintain its lead in the global automotive sales sweepstakes last year, the maker suffering significant production losses due to Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent flooding in Thailand.

While Toyota has not yet released its final numbers for 2011, it signaled they’ll be down at least 6%, to just below 8 million, which would knock the maker out of the box for the first time in three years.

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General Motors, on the other hand, claimed victory for the first time since it began its headlong plunge into bankruptcy, the maker reporting global sales of 9.03 million – including a record 4.76 million under its Chevrolet brand alone.  But that may be part of the problem.  While Volkswagen is not openly challenging GM’s claim, officials with the German maker have been quietly raising some questions about just exactly how its U.S. rival added things up.

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