Volkswagen Takes Lead From Toyota as World's Largest Automaker

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Despite the massive dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen has managed to pass Toyota as the world’s largest automaker in the first half of 2016.

Volkswagen sales have actually increased 1.5 percent through the first half of this year, despite the fact that it announced late last year that it cheated on diesel emissions tests. The German automaker has sold 5.12-million vehicles through June, compared to Toyota’s 4.99 million. However, it was the same case last year with Volkswagen, who held a lead over Toyota after the first six months of 2015 but couldn’t hold on once the emissions scandal broke.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Brand Sales Up for First Time Since January

But now, the scandal’s effect on sales has mostly been contained within the U.S., which is one of Volkswagen’s smallest markets anyways. Vehicles sales in the U.S. dropped 7.2 percent for the first half of 2016, but Volkswagen saw a 3.8 percent increase in Europe and a 6.8 percent increase in China.

Toyota however could close the gap since production was slowed down as a result of an earthquake in April in Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture. Following Toyota in the rankings is General Motors.

[Source: USA Today]

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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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  • LHB58 LHB58 on Jul 29, 2016

    If I didn't have a Toyota FJ I would have a Volkswagen. One of the best cars I ever had was a '73 Super Beetle. I got 185k miles out of the air cooled engine and made it from Denver to Ft. Collins CO on evenings where blizzards made it looked like a demolition derby. I don't care if they "cheated" on some stupid emissions test. They make some awesome cars and trucks.

    • See 2 previous
    • Mike Mike on Aug 02, 2016

      I agree completely that any car purchase is equivalent to rolling a dice. I had a 1995 Toyota Camry that was a never ending money pit. Although it never left me stranded, things were CONSTANTLY going wrong with it. On the other hand I'm still driving my college car; a 2000 Toyota Camry with only 84,500+ miles and luckily has no issues (knock on wood). I have never heard anything positive about Volkswagen. My friends, Consumer Reports, and the Volkswagen forums do not inspire much confidence. Although anecdotal, I had a friend who owned a VW Beetle and she couldn't wait to dump it. On the other hand, my two other VW friends own a CC and a Jetta TDI. They have no complaints whatsoever. The TDI owner is about to purchase a BMW 3 series.

  • Jeff Paine Jeff Paine on Jul 30, 2016

    "Volkswagen sales have actually increased 1.5 percent through the first half of this year, despite the fact that it announced late last year that it cheated on diesel emissions tests." Given the anti-Establishment-government mood of regular car-buying people in Western nations, maybe Volkswagen benefited from sticking their thumb in the eye of Big-Bureaucracy...

    • Howie Howie on Jul 30, 2016

      I totally agree that some customers don't mind or are not that unhappy with the situation. Plus there will be compensations... and a lot of car to replace ! You may even see VW sales go quite up because of that. After all, they are good cars, and the company is well established in China, while Toyota faces more and more competition in US market (more brands and low gas). Nevertheless, the huge problem for VW won't be sale volume but profit... They became (close to) number one by buying other manufacturers at cost and now they have to invest a lot in a turnaround from diesel. On the other hand, it is the third year in a row that medias announce in July that VW is the new number one... to no materialization at the end of the year. Maybe this time !