While Toyota has not yet reported its full year tally for 2014, we already know the end figures for the pursuers – Germany’s Volkswagen AG and the largest US automaker – General Motors.
Frankly, we’re not expecting any surprises later on this month when the Japanese automaker unveils the sales figures, and General Motors will most likely remain third, behind both. That’s because all three actually increased sales at record new levels (we’re judging Toyota by its nine-month tally) – with General Motors selling a record 9,924,880 units on a global level in 2014. The 2% climb from the figures recorded in 2013 was not enough to reach the fabled 10 million threshold – though Volkswagen managed to surpass it and delivered 10.1 million vehicles. On the other hand, the ranking is open to debate because Volkswagen’s data also counted an unspecified amount of larger heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles that GM has no way of including. And since 2013’s total sales for Toyota were of 10.32 million, coupled with the auto industry’s worldwide increase of around 4% last year we’re pretty confident the Japanese automaker will still rule the Earth at the end of the month. The company was around 200,000 units ahead of Germany’s VW after the first nine months of 2014.
In other news, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s auto analyst, John Murphy, has forecasted total US sales could hit an unprecedented level of 20 million new car and light-trucks by 2018. The bullish outlook puts a 21% sales increase from last year’s tally of 16.5 million and is primarily based on what the analyst sees as a growing trend of customers wanting to replace older cars.