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.’’

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