Toyota is World Number One Again For the First Time In Five Years
In 2016, the Volkswagen Group wrestled the crown from Toyota to become the world’s best-selling car brand and held on to the title since, despite the emissions scandal that was uncovered in 2015. It took a worldwide pandemic for the German brand to be dethroned, and by none other than the usurped Toyota.
It wasn’t that Toyota wasn’t affected by the pandemic too. Group sales for 2020, which included their subsidiaries Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino, fell by 11% to 9.53 million units. However, VW Group’s delivery, which includes that of Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Seat, and their heavy truck brands, Scania and MAN, fell by 15% to 9.31 million.
VW was more greatly affected by the pandemic because of their greater dependence on the EU market, where passenger car sales fell by 24%, the worst decline in history. Toyota, however, has a bigger presence in the US, where, although the highest number of COVID cases was reported, has not experienced the same level of lockdown as Europe.
VW could return to number one glory again this year by pushing more electric vehicles, particularly in their largest car market, China. Car sales in the People’s Republic fell by only 2%, despite circumstances, as the economy rebounded by the third quarter of 2020; new energy vehicles – EVs and hybrids – actually saw a surge in sales of almost 11%, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, thanks to government subsidies. These subsidies are likely to be completely rolled back by 2022, though, and a dip in EV sales will more than likely follow.
Toyota chose to downplay their success and a spokesperson commented that “our focus is not on what our ranking may be, but on serving customers.” Sure. Toyota will be revealing an electric SUV this year, combining the two biggest automotive trends presently, targeting the European market. However, the best-laid plans of mice and men could likely go awry due to a shortage of silicon chip, an essential component of cars especially an electric one, that is expected to continue into the year.