15 July 2014

The True Global Car Maker

A truly global car

Once it was always GM that was the biggest car maker. You didn't have to think about it. Now Toyota and VW Group are up there battling it out to be the biggest, with Toyota currently on top. So who is the true global car maker?

It is safe to say that GM will end up third in this fight. It just isn't run to the standard required to be the biggest. So that leaves Toyota and the company that is desperate to get there, the VW Group. Looking at them brand for brand is interesting.

Skoda/Seat vs Daihatsu. The VW brands combined are slightly bigger. They are mainly in Europe with Skoda also doing well in China. Seat is a poor performer. Daihatsu has been pulled back to be an Asia brand only. Win to VW.

Audi vs Lexus. Audi has been expanded into many new segments of late and VW has been pushing its most profitable marque hard. Lexus has been sleepily cruising along, the opposite of what VW has done. This has led to Audi clearly outselling the Toyota marque. Win to VW.

MAN/Scania vs Hino. The truck industry isn't one I am up with, but VW's two companies are strong in Europe and Toyota's in Asia/Pacific and I assume many emerging nations. VW seems to have had trouble getting its two truck makers to share costs. This could be a draw, but any opinions welcome.

Bentley/Lamborghini vs ? Toyota doesn't match up here and the numbers are small anyway, so we'll have to pass on this one. A meaningless win to VW.

VW vs Toyota. Despite all of the above, the big numbers are here and that is where it will ultimately be decided. VW is big in Europe and massive in China. It cannot be overstated how big the VW numbers are in China. However, for large areas of the world VW's sales are small or non-existent. On the other hand Toyota is strong everywhere. It doesn't rely on one market such as VW does with China to push to be biggest. The Toyota brand outsells VW too by some way. Win to Toyota.

Summary: VW may win in most match ups, but the Toyota brand is still too strong for the VW one. If the VW Group is to pass the Toyota Group, it will be based on China. VW expects to sell 3.5 million cars there this year (I'm sure that means the group) and is currently building two new factories in China to ensure it is able to meet future growth.

So numerically VW is poised to become number one. However, when it comes to global reach, VW isn't in the same league as Toyota. The true global car maker isn't necessarily the one who makes the most cars, especially if it's based around limited areas of the world. Whatever the numbers say, if you travel around the world, you will soon see there one true global car maker and it isn't the VW Group.

Global? Hardly see them where I live

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