Bloomberg news believes that the Volkswagen Group of companies could be the largest seller of automobiles the world over. It predicts that Volkswagen could end up with sales of 8.1 million vehicles, a rise of over 13 percent and that General Motors will be in second place with sales reaching 7.55 million which would be up by 8 percent while the present number one, Toyota may end up in third spot with sales of around 7.27 million, down by 9 percent. A couple of years ago, Toyota displaced GM to become the Global Number One, but this year Toyota has had to face a slow down owing to the tsunami and earthquake in Japan apart from a slew of recall of vehicles for fixing glitches, a process that started last year. Also Toyota sales come mostly from the Toyota badge itself while some also include the Lexus luxury brand that Toyota owns. Daihatsu is also part owned by Toyota but we are not sure if the numbers from Daihatsu are tagged on to Toyota sales.
GM’s performance should be seen as impressive, coming as it is on the back of a near bankruptcy. Also some of the GM brands no longer exist in its portfolio, brands such as Saab, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Saturn. GM sales are mainly due to the resurgence of the Chevrolet brand globally, but more so in Asia and also to an extent due to Opel and Vauxhall, brands that share platforms and car designs and model names.
The Volkswagen umbrella has many brands such as Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bugatti, Lamborghini, apart from the VW badge itself. Of these VW, Skoda, SEAT bring in the big numbers while Audi makes some contribution. Bugatti and Lamborghini sell boutique cars so they are not significant for numbers. What is important is that VW spreading its wings to newer markets has contributed to rising numbers.
However, while many are patting VW on its back and congratulating it for becoming No.1 in 2011 while its own target was doing that in 2018, we would like to say that next year, once Toyota is able to put itself back on the rails properly, it will, in all likelihood, return to the top spot.