VW top manufacturer trumping Toyota
Toyota has been the world's best selling automaker the last four years, ever since they dethroned General Motors. While Toyota sold 4.99 million units worldwide in the first half of 2015, it did 0.6% less this time around. Strangely, it is not GM, but VW that overtook Toyota, by selling 5.12 million vehicles globally, despite an industry churning diesel-scam-scandal late last year, which, many predicted, would sink the carmaker.
The scandal's repercussion on Volkswagen's sales has been the highest in the U.S., which is a relatively small market for the group. Sales fell only 7% there, whereas it rose 4% and 7% in Europe and China respectively, where VW dominates the market. Furthermore, the VW Group's mass brand took the worst blow in the scandal; the other luxurious brands such as Audi, Porsche and Skoda buffered its the Volkswagen brand out of the pit.
On the other hand, a disastrous earthquake in Japan's Kumamoto prefecture damaged a production plant earlier in April 2016. This caused a massive bottleneck in production of some of the popular models such as Camry and Prius, which delayed deliveries and hampered the company's profitability. The cumulative effect of these led to VW accelerating in global sales past Toyota, from 2015's Hoax-wagen to 2016's Best-Selling-wagen.
Besides steering itself out of the scandal by spending over 6 billion US$, Volkswagen has also been offering incentives to buyers in the United States and other markets in hopes of repositioning by investing in electric vehicles. Still, the question of reputation arises and it is unclear whether the group will be able to continue the momentum throughout the year and be the top automaker of the year.