Toyota champions the global auto sales, beating Volkswagen once again

Toyota champions the global auto sales, beating Volkswagen once again. (Photo by PASCAL ROSSIGNOL / POOL / AFP)

Toyota champions the global auto sales, beating Volkswagen once again

  • The Japanese giant’s vehicle sales rose just over 10%, putting it even further ahead of its nearest rival Volkswagen.
  • Toyota has been carefully managing microchip procurement and navigating supply chain bottlenecks, avoiding the lengthy production shutdowns most of its rivals were facing.
  • Volkswagen witnessed its petrol and diesel vehicles sales suffer a massive disruption, while its EV sales witnessed significant growth.

In 2020, Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp overtook Germany’s Volkswagen in vehicle sales for the first time in five years. A year later, amid a severe chip crisis, the Japanese automaker managed to retain its pole position as the world’s top selling automaker, beating its German rival once again.

Toyota basically limited the impact of the global semiconductor shortage more successfully than rivals, thus widening its lead over second-place Volkswagen. The automaker’s sales grew 10% to 10.5 million vehicles, including those of Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors, the Japanese company said last week. 

The company did get impacted by a constrained supply chain in the autumn of 2021 when production in Japan slowed significantly as Covid-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia. Yet, the group was generally known to have handled the chip shortage better than its competitors.

Still, the world’s top automaker feels it is unlikely to reach its goal of manufacturing nine million cars this fiscal year through March due to persistent chip shortages. For this month, Toyota is paring back production to 700,000 units, around 150,000 units lower than its original goal for the month, according to a statement.

It cited a semiconductor crunch due to continued demand across industries and didn’t set a new annual target, saying only that final output is expected to be lower than previously forecast. The automaker’s ability to handle the chip crisis so far is largely due to its home market Japan and parts of Asia being less affected as opposed to Europe for Volskwagen. 

The German carmaker, in terms of electric vehicle (EV) sales however, still stands above Toyota with 452,900 EVs sold, an increase of 96% over the previous year. Toyota’s EV sales on the other hand stood at just 14,000 vehicles, accounting for a mere 0.1% of the group’s sales and far below the 5% at Volkswagen. 

Overall, Volkswagen sold 8.9 million vehicles last year across all brands — a 20% decrease from 2019, when it held the top spot. In particular, the German automaker posted weaker sales in its key markets of Western Europe and China. In China, there were intense competition from local players and electric vehicle giant Tesla, pushing Volkswagen sales down by 14%.