Toyota’s rough drive to top spot
TOYOTA has put the troubles of last year’s Japan tsunami and Thai floods behind it to regain the crown as the top automotive company in the world.
The ninth largest company in the world by revenue sold 4.97 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 33.6 per cent on the 3.72 million it sold in the first half of last year.
The Japanese company narrowly regained the lead from General Motors, which finished 300,000 vehicles behind at the end of June.
Toyota had held the lead in global sales from 2008 to 2010 until the twin disasters last year impacted production in Japan and Thailand, and hot on the heels of several embarrassing global safety recalls.
In Australia, Toyota has held the lead over Holden since 2003 and in the first six months of this year sold 106,035 which is almost double Holden’s sales.
However, on a global level, VW is breathing down its neck having this week announced it will be world leader by 2018.
The VW group which consists of Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, MAN, Scania and SEAT, and part ownership of Porsche and Suzuki, is poised to surpass GM as early as the end of the year after recording sales of 4.52 million cars in the first six months, just 150,000 behind the big American. That represents a 12.4 per cent increase on the same period last year.
However, its performance could have been better except for the economic problems in Europe where it dominates the market.
And in a statement released this week, the VW Group announced that ‘‘quality takes precedence over quantity’’.
‘‘We don’t want to be the biggest, but rather the best and most sustainable automaker in the world,’’ the statement said.
‘‘For us, environmentally friendly products and satisfied customers and employees are at least as important as sales rankings and profitability.’’