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Volkswagen Takes Toyota's Crown As Biggest Auto Manufacturer

By raccars Published

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First half statistics for 2015 have seen the Volkswagen Group overtake Toyota, to become the biggest car manufacturer in the world. The figures released this week showed that the VW Group had achieved 5.04 million car sales, globally, in the first six months of the year.

Toyota was some way behind, with a worldwide sales total of 5.02 million units for the first half of 2015. The VW Group's figures include sales by all of its brands, such as Audi, Porsche, Seat and Skoda.

However, the figures reported were lower for both companies than in the same period last year, with Volkswagen sales decreasing by 0.5%, year on year, and Toyota's sales down by 1.5%. Industry analysts have suggested that VW has increased demand in Europe to thank for its success, where the auto market is finally seeing the slow shoots of recovery, after years of very grim corporate results. The VW Group's star performers for the first six months of the year were the new Volkswagen Passat and the Porsche Macan, propelling growth of 6% in the European market.

By contrast, Toyota's European sales have remained relatively stable but demand has fallen in the key Chinese market. Nonetheless, there is very little space between the two firms in sales figures. Industry analysts have suggested that both firms should be focused more on turning profit rather than shifting volume.

The last time the VW Group surpassed Toyota's sales worldwide was in 2009, when it reported sales of 4.4 million units in its third quarter results for the year, compared to 4.0 million unit sales for Toyota. The VW Group has been very public about its plan to become the biggest car maker in the world by 2018, and so far, is ahead of the schedule it set for itself in 2010.

2015's first half results saw General Motors take third place, with unit sales of 4.86 million, down 1.2%, year on year. GM was the world's best-selling automaker for more than 70 years until Toyota surged ahead in 2008, then briefly returned to the top spot in 2011, when the earthquake and tsunami which truck Japan that year interrupted production for Toyota. Toyota was back on top by the following year and remained there until this week's corporate results announcement.

Toyota sold 10.23 million cars over the whole of 2014 compared to Volkswagen's 10.14 million. GM was third last year too, with whole year sales of 9.92 million units.

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