Volkswagen Group Surpasses Toyota to Become World’s Largest Automaker

Everyone wants to be the best, whether it’s the fastest, smartest, strongest or biggest. This is especially true in the automotive world, where brands are always battling for bragging rights.

And one of the most important things they fight for is the title world’s largest carmaker, something Toyota has owned for the last four years. But in 2016, the Volkswagen Group surpassed its Japanese rival to steal the sales crown.

The VW Group delivered some 10.3 million vehicles last year, a figure including cars, trucks, and buses from all its brands. That performance represents a 3.8 percent year-over-year gain. Making this performance even more impressive is that VW was facing backlash from the diesel emissions scandal, which came to light in late 2015. It had the potential to decimate their deliveries, but sales continued to be strong.

Der neue Volkswagen Golf GTI

Toyota’s global sales also grew in 2016, but a much lower rate, increasing by just 0.2 percent. Overall, they were right on their German competitor’s heels, pushing out some 10.2 million vehicles, a tally that includes products from its various divisions including Hino and Daihatsu, among others.

The reason for VW’s strong growth is two-fold. First, it’s doing extremely well in China, which is hugely important. Second, it’s not as big a player in North America, which is one of Toyota’s hottest markets. Weakening sales in the U.S. hurt Volkswagen far less.

But often times bragging rights mean little. What really counts in this game is making money, and this is one area where Toyota is potentially crushing VW. It’s reported that the Japanese company was twice as profitable for a six-month period last year than Volkswagen. However, it’s worth noting that neither firm has released earnings figures for all of 2016 yet, so stay tuned for that.

[Source: Automotive News]

This article first appeared on