The long-term trends made us anticipate it and it has now happened: over the first six months of 2015, the Volkswagen Group overtook Toyota Motor to become the largest automaker in the world in volume, putting the company on track to achieve its target of becoming the worldwide sales leader by 2018 a full three years in advance. Volkswagen Group deliveries over the period are down 0.5% to 5.04 million units including the MAN and Scania truck brands. Very dynamic sales at home in Europe were tarnished by a first-in-a-decade decline in China but the small drop still enabled the German group to outsell Toyota, down 1.5% to 5.02 million vehicles including the Daihatsu cars and Hino heavy truck brands. General Motors for its part is down 1.2% to 4.86 million sales.
This change of guard atop the worldwide sales charts is a very rare event and the first time the Volkswagen Group snatches the top spot halfway through the year. If it maintains its lead until the end of 2015, it would be the first time Toyota Motor isn’t the worldwide best-seller since 2011 when production constraints linked with the Asian natural disasters that year limited its sales and had Toyota gave way to General Motors. The American manufacturer held the worldwide pole position from 1931 to 2007, with Toyota taking over from 2008-2010.
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