VW in front of Toyota after the first quarter image

Volkswagen Group managed to overpass Toyota in terms of global deliveries during the first quarter, as the Japanese automaker was forced to halt the output a couple of times.

Toyota said it sold 2.46 million vehicles worldwide from January to March, marking a 2.3 percent drop over the last year. And this wrong step opened the door for Volkswagen to take the lead. The German Group announced earlier this month it delivered more than 2.5 million cars in the first three months, up 0.8 percent, while the third contender, General Motors, reported a sales fall of 2.5 percent to 2.36 million vehicles.

The main reasons behind Toyota’s struggle were the deadly twin earthquakes that struck Japan this month, forcing the automaker to halt production for a week, as well as the January explosion at the Aichi Steel plant in Japan, which affected the output of steel parts at that time, also triggering a one-week production stoppage in February. Toyota’s production that month decreased 17 percent to 298,839 vehicles.

The earthquakes “has impacted multiple parts, models and plants,” Hiroji Onishi, a Toyota senior managing officer, told reporters in Beijing. “All effort is being made now to grasp the current situation and build the recovery plan.”

According to some estimates made by Kurt Sanger, auto analyst with Deutsche Securities Japan, and quoted by Automotive News Europe, a full week of loss production would total less than 90,000 vehicles and cost the company between 50 billion to 70 billion yen (458.2 million to 641.5 million dollars).

Via Automotive News