For the first time in its history, Volkswagen appears ready to take number one spot in automotive sales. This despite massive fines, criminal charges, ongoing investigations and disgraced executive management. In 2016, Volkswagen reported 10.31 million vehicles were sold. Toyota, the top seller for the last four years, came in with 10.175 million vehicles sold. Both numbers show growth for Volkswagen and Toyota. VW had hoped to topple Toyota from number one, until the scandal broke and then CEO Martin Winterkorn was relieved of duties.
Strong sales growth for 2016 saw an increase of 3.8% for Volkswagen, while Toyota’s sales grew only 2%. Volume for VW’s increase comes largely due to increases in Chinese market demand. Toyota, on the other hand, was held back by a cooling in the US car market. Volkswagen owns the Porsche, Audi and Skoda brands. Even more surprising, the Volkswagen Golf was the top selling car in Sweden for 2016. Volvo has held that spot for more than 50 years.
Volkswagen’s celebrations are still on hold, depending on what sales numbers GM posts next week. The North American auto maker typically rounds out the top three globally, but took over number one spot in 2011 after earthquakes ravaged Japan. However, expectations are that Volkswagen will not be topped by GM, which placed third in 2015. Historically, GM dominated global sales for decades, until Toyota took the throne in 2008