Toyota’s reign at the top was a short one. Year-to-date sales by manufacturer now list Volkswagen as the world’s largest automaker. So far for 2009, Volkswagen has a combined sales tally of 4.4 million units – 400,000 ahead of Toyota.
Volkswagen’s tremendous rise from as far back as fourth place just a year ago, was driven on by the worldwide recession, which saw automakers like General Motors and Toyota lose ground. Toyota suffered significantly in the U.S., much more so than Volkswagen, due in part to VW’s small exposure in the North American marketplace. A generous cash-for-clunkers stimulus package that was put into place in Germany early on, also helped, as did a new line of vehicles for the Chinese marketplace.
But that’s not the only reason for Volkswagen’s success in 2009. Having recently purchased (or merged with, if you prefer) Porsche, Germany’s largest automaker now gets to include all the sales figures of Germany’s most renowned sports car maker.
It remains to be seen if Volkswagen will hold on to the title once all the vehicles are tallied-up at the end of the year. Volkswagen has not released a projected total, but Toyota has forecasted a final number of 7 million units.
[Source: The Guardian]