01 December 2009

VW #1 Producer Worldwide For 2009?

Uncertain times make for marked changes that catch observers by surprise. GM got into all sorts of bother and gave up the top spot in 2008 to Toyota so suddenly, it was an anticlimax. It was inconceivable that anyone would even get near to Toyota as world's largest vehicle producer for 2009. In fact VW had earmarked 2018 as the year it expected to be the largest vehicle maker. Well guess what? These uncertain times have thrown another curve ball. The VW Group has become the largest vehicle maker for 2009 for the first nine months.

VW scored strong sales in its two main markets - in China and Germany, while Toyota's two largest sales markets - USA and Japan - did poorly. This has led to VW manufacturing 4.4 million vehicles in nine months of 2009 compared to only 4 million by Toyota. Ford has done surprisingly well with 3.7 million vehicles made, ahead of GM's 3.6 million.

Toyota will view this as a temporary setback and should take back the top spot in 2010, but the battle is well and truly on.

The bottom line: You cannot write Toyota off, but VW has the momentum and the better brand balance.

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