Toyota today announced that it sold a total of 5.02 million cars worldwide in the first six months of this year - some way behind the 5.04 million units announced by the Volkswagen Group earlier this month. That figure includes cars from Volkswagen’s key brands, including Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche.
Those figures represent decreases for both manufacturers compared with the same period last year - with Toyota and Volkswagen reporting declines of 1.5% and 0.5% respectively.
Analysis by Bloomberg suggests Volkswagen’s sales have held relatively firm thanks to accelerated demand in Europe, where the market is growing at its fastest rate for more than five years. In particular, sales of the Volkswagen Passat and Porsche Macan have helped to give VW a firmer footing in Europe, where its sales have risen by 6%.
Conversely, Toyota is understood to have suffered from reduced demand in China, while failing to experience the same gains in Europe.
Speaking to Bloomberg Business, Advanced Research Japan analyst Koji Endo said: “Toyota versus Volkswagen is going to be a very close race. These companies want to make the profitability side much more important than volume.”
This isn’t the first time the VW Group has achieved the title of world’s largest manufacturer. In 2009 it took the title from Toyota by delivering 4.4 million vehicles in the first nine months of that year, compared with Toyota’s 4.0 million.
In 2010 Volkswagen set itself the target of becoming the world’s largest car maker by 2018.