Will the all-new Camry change the situation this year?
In October last year analyzers and specialists predicted Volkswagen could become the world’s best-selling automaker for 2016. And they weren’t wrong, as the German manufacturer has officially been crowned as the biggest auto company in the world for the last 12 months, following four consecutive titles from Toyota.
Automotive News reports that Volkswagen Group has managed to shift no less than 10.3 million cars, trucks, and buses in 2016, a 3.8 percent gain over the previous year. Toyota fell short with 10.2 million sales, including the Lexus, Daihatsu, and Hino brands – an increase of only 0.2 percent compared to 2015.
The Chinese market is seen as a key factor for the triumph of the German conglomerate, despite the Dieselgate scandal. VW enjoyed bigger increase in China sales than Toyota thanks to a tax reduction. What's more, U.S. President Donald Trump’s statements and planned reforms are also reflecting the Japanese manufacturer’s local sales.
"Trump is a bigger risk for Toyota than for Volkswagen because the German carmaker has a small exposure to the U.S. market," Ken Miyao, an analyst at market researcher Carnorama based in Tokyo, commented to Automotive News. "Toyota has made investment to build a new plant in Mexico and will have limited options to appeal to Trump."
Toyota U.S. sales dropped last year, mainly because of the slowed demand for the Camry, the country best-selling sedan. A brand new Camry was revealed earlier this month at the 2017 NAIAS in Detroit and will go on sale this summer, helping the brand restore its positions in America.
"The development of the U.S. market is set to decide if VW can stay ahead of Toyota this year," Sascha Gommel, an analyst at Commerzbank, added. "If the Chinese and European markets continue to be solid and the U.S. market weakens as I expect, VW might stay first in 2017 as Toyota has a larger exposure to North America."
Source: Automotive News