The global auto industry leadership race is a Sino-German affair since 2013, with America’s General Motors falling into the background little by little.
Meanwhile, Japan’s largest automaker – Toyota Motor – positively held on to the title for the third consecutive year (following a small hiatus brought by the 2011 natural disasters in Japan). Global sales at Toyota, including its Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co. divisions surged modestly by 3% to a record 10.23 million vehicles last year. They were followed by Europe’s biggest carmaker, Germany’s Volkswagen AG, with a 4.2 percent growth to 10.14 million units, including unspecified quota from its two heavy-truck units. GM, lacking any such heavy commercial division, maintained an almost equal pace and soared 2.1 percent to a record of 9.92 million autos.
Japan’s Toyota has already predicted a conservative sales result this year – forecasting worldwide deliveries would have a negative trend, falling one percent to 10.15 million units. That’s only 10,000 more than VW’s 2014 quota. So, analysts and industry experts believe the German automaker would make due on its target to become global leader this year. There are two main reasons. The first is Toyota President Akio Toyoda’s decision to forego new plants in favor of extracting capacity from the current ones. The second is China. Both Volkswagen and General Motors have been revving up their engines in the world’s largest auto market, while Toyota has had numerous problems there, including consumer backlash stemming from political issues and only ranks sixth among global automakers in China.