Volkswagen And Toyota In Neck-And-Neck Race For Global Top Spot
Usually, when the leaves turn golden outside, the World's Largest Automaker title is a foregone conclusion. This time, it's dramatically different. Toyota and Volkswagen have produced nearly exactly the same number of vehicles this year so far, and the race remains wide open.
January through September, Volkswagen Group and Toyota Motor Co. produced 7.609 million units across all their brands, data released by the companies show. Officially, Toyota is ahead of VW by a mere 336 units, a fraction of a rounding error for companies that are used to making 10 million cars per year, each.
Who might nose ahead in the final spurt? The stats are on Volkswagen's side. VW is looking at a year-on-year growth of 2.4%, while Toyota added only 1.2% to last year's January-September results. But then, Toyota was behind Volkswagen in the first part of the year, and only edged ahead in August.
Would Volkswagen grab the title this year, it would reach a target set by former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn who wanted VW to become world's largest automaker by 2018. Winterkorn is gone, his Strategy 2018 has been scrapped and replaced by a more mallable Strategy 2025.
Number 3 General Motors is far behind the dueling giants.