The Volkswagen Group is close to overtaking Toyota as the world’s largest car maker.
Early reports of first-quarter figures suggest that the VW Group’s nine car and truck brands could out-sell the combined might of Toyota Motor Corp, which includes Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and truck maker Hino.
While Toyota has suffered heavily from the weak performance of its core markets – in the first quarter of 2009 the Japanese market was down 24 per cent year-on-year, while the US was down 38 per cent – VW’s key markets were buoyant by comparison.
China, Germany and Brazil make up around 44 per cent of the VW Group’s total sales, and each country has successfully introduced government-sponsored schemes to boost new car sales.
Toyota has predicted a 47 per cent drop in global first-quarter sales to 1.23 million units.
Even if VW’s projected 10 per cent decline happens (it was predicted before the sharp upturn in the Chinese and German markets), VW’s output for the first three months of 2009 would still be over 1.4 million units, easily eclipsing Toyota’s figure.