After years hunting its most coveted prize – global sales leadership – Germany’s Volkswagen AG managed to offset Japan’s Toyota after the results for the worldwide deliveries during the first six months of the year were published.
But for Volkswagen – the 12-brand behemoth that sells anything from motorcycles to heavy trucks and supercars – the joy was short lived. Its business establishment was rocked a few months back by a clash between long running family patriarch and chairman Ferdinand Piech and the company’s chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn. And now the crown could be forever lost after the company had to admit it had rigged diesel emissions tests in the US and fitted up to 11 million vehicles sold worldwide with illegal software designed to hide real world toxic emissions. So, just three months after claiming the top spot it had envisioned for years and having lost both the chairman (to the first scandal) and its CEO (to the second), the fallout from the dieselgate scandal is already bearing its mark – with global auto sales recaptured by Toyota, Japan’s largest company.
Volkswagen announced earlier this month it had sold 7.43 million vehicles on a group wide level during the first nine months of the year. Meanwhile after three quarters, Toyota said Monday it delivered 7.49 million units through September. The sales have gone down slightly – by 1.5 percentage points for both companies because of global market turmoil. “Toyota will be the No. 1 for this year,” comments Koji Endo, an auto analyst at Advanced Research Japan. “VW may be facing sales difficulties due to the scandal toward next year in Europe and the U.S., and I don’t see the Chinese market coming back anytime soon.”