The two global manufacturing powerhouses are now ready to bring their newest “guns” into the escalating war for global auto industry domination.
Both the German and Japanese automakers are expected to significantly up the ante on production capacity – with the latter already announcing a complete new global strategy for the company that is the world’s largest automaker. Reports are also pouring in that the Japanese company is en route to approve final plans for the construction of at least two new factories – ending a self-imposed plant cap that sought to allow the firm to address former quality and reliability issues. And that would actually be the appropriate response to recent moves by its close following rival, Volkswagen AG – which in turn has been investing in new assembly facilities, besides lifting capacity at others – including its only facility in the US. “It’s going to be a tough battle because you have two competitors with a broad portfolio of products targeting every market in the world, ” comments Joe Phillippi, chief analyst at AutoTrends Consulting.
At the top level, Toyota executives say the No. 1 position is not their end goal anymore – even after holding on to the spot almost without interruption since 2008. But the automaker is increasing its production efforts just as the German competitor has pledged to overtake the Japanese rival even before its internal goal set for 2018. VW AG managed to move past General Motors in 2013, with the German carmaker well established in markets such as South America, China and Europe, according to analysts. Meanwhile, Japan’s Toyota is well fortified in the United States. Weaknesses include Toyota’s failure to take advantage of the booming Chinese market (where VW is the number one foreign automaker) and VW AG’s equal missteps on the US market – especially taking into consideration the core namesake brand.