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Volkswagen Passes Toyota as World's Number One Automaker

Published by: Frank Galvano on 28th Jul 2015 | View all blogs by Frank Galvano

 

Volkswagen Passes Toyota as World's Number One Automaker

Germany's Volkswagen achieved a long-held goal in the first half of the year, surpassing Japan's Toyota as the world's largest automaker. According to figures released Tuesday, Volkswagen delivered a total of 5.04 million vehicles from January to June, edging out the 5.02 million vehicles Toyota sold in that time. Both companies are believed to be firmly ahead of General Motors, whose days atop the world carmaker list are far behind. Volkswagen, meanwhile, declined to brag about the achievement, choosing instead to focus on staying on top. The company's stated goal of being number one by 2018 is in reach, but it remains to be seen if it can avoid being passed by Toyota by the time the year ends.

Of course, most economists agree that being on top in sales is nice, but stress that profitability is a far more important measure of how a company is doing. Consequently, a spokesman for Toyota brushed off the slide to second in sales, pointing out that Toyota's 10.3 percent operating profit margin was well ahead of Volkswagen's 6.3 percent. Despite achieving its goal, Volkswagen is still struggling to stay competitive in the world's largest car market, the US. Sales of Volkswagen vehicles fell 10 percent in 2014, and fell 2.6 percent through the first half of this year. That figure is particularly discouraging given that US auto sales increased 4.4 percent overall in that span.

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