Toyota keeps worldwide crown
Toyota Motor Corp. remained the the world’s biggest automaker in 2014 with sales up 3% to break the 10 million vehicles mark for the first time in the carmaker’s history at 10.23 million units, including its Daihatsu minicar subsidiary and Hino truckmaking affiliate. This was just enough to keep the worldwide pole position ahead of German rival Volkswagen Group, up 3% to 10.15 million sales and also above 10 million annual vehicles for the first time in its history. This is also the first time any carmaker sells more than 10 million vehicles in a single year, and a third automaker nearly crossed that symbolic barrier this year: in third position like in 2013, General Motors Co. saw its volume rise 2% to 9.92 million vehicles.
Toyota Motor Corp. thus keeps the lead for the third consecutive year after losing its crown in 2011 due to production constraints linked with the Asian natural disasters that year. General Motors previously held the worldwide pole position from 1931 to 2007, with Toyota taking over from 2008-2010. But Toyota’s lead may be at an end in 2015, with the Japanese giant forecasting sales to drop 1% to 10.15 million on the back of slowing demand in Japan and emerging markets. This should be sufficient for Volkswagen Group become the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer by the time 2015 comes to an end.
The Volkswagen Group performance is all the more impressive when considering CEO Martin Winterkorn had been pursuing growth as part of a plan for the German automaker to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018, aiming at worldwide sales of 10 million units by then. VW is 4 full years ahead of schedule, such a rare performance in the chest-beating world of automobile.
World Full Year 2014 – manufacturers:
BMW still luxury leader in record year
In the luxury sales race, BMW outsold both Audi and Mercedes-Benz in December to round off a 10th year as global luxury car-sales champion but its two German rivals have reduced its advantage. Deliveries by BMW’s core brand jumped 10% on 2013 to a record 1.81 million units, helped by strong demand in China and the United States. BMW group sales including BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini vehicles rose 8% to 2.11 million vehicles. Audi improved even faster with worldwide sales up 11% to 1.74 million cars, while Mercedes brand sales increased by yet another more dynamic 13% to 1.65 million units, with Daimler sales (including Smart) up 11% to 1.74 million cars.
Some analysts said Analysts said BMW, Audi and Mercedes may keep growing sales further this year but pointed to signs of slowing momentum in North America and China. I disagree. These 3 carmakers are among the most prolific in terms of new product launches and some new or redesigned high sellers will keep the momentum going for all of them: the C-Class will reach cruise level, the A4 will be renewed and the 2 Series Active Tourer will be a hit in Europe.