Toyota overtakes VW as world’s best selling carmaker

February 1, 2021

A Toyota SUV on sale at an auto dealer in Guangzhou, China (Courtesy Takashi Kawakami / Nikkei Asia)

Toyota Motor Corporation has overtaken Volkswagen as the world’s bestselling car manufacturer, reports Nikkei Asia. Thanks to strong sales in China and the US, Toyota has reclaimed the title after missing out over the last five years.

The Japanese carmaker sold 9.52 million new vehicles in 2020, which was down 11.3% from the previous year. However, when combined with Subaru sales, which became an equity-method affiliate in 2020, it had sold 10.4 million vehicles.

Impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Toyota’s group sales fell by almost half in April 2020 compared to 2019. Despite this fall, the car manufacturer navigated a rapid sales recovery, particularly in China. In December 2020, Toyota sold 987,700 cars, up 8.9% from the previous year and reportedly the most ever for the month. Sales in North America recovered sharply in May 2020 due to the popularity of SUVs.

In 2020, Toyota produced 9.21 million vehicles, down 14.1%. In Japan, the company built 2.92 million cars, including Lexus models, a 14.4% decrease.

Toyota states that it has long held to its goal of producing three million vehicles in Japan every year, a target which aims to maintain the domestic supply chain, employment and suppliers. The company reported that it had managed to maintain this produciton level, along with its supply chain.

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