For what seemed like an eternity, the title of World's Largest Automaker belonged to General Motors. More recently, Toyota was able to wrestle the mantle away from GM as the Japanese automaker made huge gains in GM's home country and abroad, and Volkswagen has been nipping at the two behemoth's heels. According to Bloomberg, though, the top three are likely to see themselves reshuffled before 2011 officially draws to a close.

Volkswagen, with an estimated 2011 sales tally of around 8.1 million vehicles globally (up 13 percent over 2010), is likely to earn top billing as the largest automaker in the world. General Motors, which was in the sales lead through the first half of 2011, ought to move around 7.55 million machines (an eight-percent increase) to hold on to second place while Toyota's estimated 7.27 million sales (a nine-percent falloff) would only be good enough for third in the global race for sales dominance.

There are a number of reasons Toyota has seen its sales flounder in 2011 – most notably the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in the first quarter of the year that halted production of many of its popular models, but also due in part to lingering aftereffects of its recall-ridden history over the past few years. Company CEO Akio Toyoda has vowed to address all of these concerns.

Analysts are split on predictions for 2012, with some suggesting VW will have enough momentum to hang on to its number one spot and others believing Toyota will rebound to reclaim first place in global sales. Success in emerging markets like China and India will likely be the deciding factor in sales supremacy, both in 2012 and in the years to follow.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      lne937s
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a hard time with these numbers, as it all depends on how automakers report them. If you take away GM's Chinese partnerships where they are a minority stakeholder, then GM falls down in rankings. If you include Subaru in Toyota's rankings, they move up. If you include Porsche and Suzuki in VW's rankings, VW moves up. If you look at the Nissan/Renault Alliance together, including AvtoVAZ, they are also on track for 8MM+... So with no standard for reporting sales, the #1 sales position is determined by how the different companies decide to creativly attribute sales to themselves.
      Adam Horton
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's about time. I knew this would happen eventually, but I was hoping it would come a lot sooner. Finally, the right one will be on top
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      Rob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Toyota got to the top all by itself whereas VW buy its way to the top.
        Georg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rob
        thats so wrong...VAG numbers only include their 5 main brands since ever an no other.. VW cars Audi owned since the 1960´s Skoda owned since mid 1990´s Seat owned since mid 1990´s VW commercial vehicles all their numbers is own growing since the late 1990´s Their published numbers do not include Porsche, Scania, MAN or Suzuki.. Toyota numbers include Toyota Lexus Scion Daihatsu Hino
        Pdexter
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rob
        Skoda is easily the best example of VW knowing their sh1t. Skoda was embarrassing car/brand to drive just some years ago by Western European. In 9 years Skoda has turned in to Hyundai of today. Cheaper than VW, but cooler than Toyota. And where have VW exactly got their money? I really don't understand the logic of your comment to be honest.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Carlos Cruz
        • 3 Years Ago
        Not really, GM's philosophy of "Bigger and shoddier" brought them to the brink of collapse. Were you not in this planet in 2008? Where I live I only see GM's as rental cars, corporate fleets, or government owned fleet vehicles. GM's glory days were back in the 50's-60's, mostly because the industrial complexes in those countries were destroyed by the American forces in WWII. After recovery, they are back. Keep in mind that America can build anything in volume, but I've never seen a mass produced American product compete in quality. Back in WWII the Americans could build more shoddy M4 Sherman Tanks, but the Germans built a quality Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E/B, It took 4 Sherman tanks to corner a Tiger tank to defeat it. A one on one battle would have been easily won by the Germans. This example also applies to todays way of American thinking. Just look at the other great American companies that follow the same quantity vs quality approach, McDonald's, Dell, HP, GM, Chrysler. I can go on and on.
          Carlos Cruz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Carlos Cruz
          @Walt I do realize we won the war (We'd be speaking German if we didn't), that's why I said "Keep in mind that America can build anything in volume", our tanks out numbered theirs, just plain math. But there are plenty of documentaries out there that explain why the German tank was superior, and why a single Sherman could never win against a single Tiger. The point that I was making above is simple, Americans (like the Chinese) have a great manufacturing capacity, we can make anything we set ourselves to do so(well, not quite anymore, but...). Out weakness is mass producing a quality product. When GM (and the other two) were "making money" (before 2008) their products were trash. After 2008 the big 3 made changes to compete in this "world economy" that they did not see coming. Although to be honest, I'm part of Generation Y, therefore all of this nation's big accomplishments, national pride, and things of that fashion happened before my time, I read about it when I'm in class or watching History. Unfortunately though I won't be a part of it, or see it in the future if we continue on the way that we're headed. Mostly since lately we seem preoccupied with Social, Religious, Class, and Sexual (orientation) warfare for some reason.
          Walt
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Carlos Cruz
          If you enjoy living in a fantasy world, by all means continue to do so. The following is for those that are more interested in facts - >>The most important American design of the war was the M4 Sherman medium tank. The M4 became the second-most-produced tank of World War II, and was the only tank to be used by virtually all Allied forces (thanks to the American lend-lease program). M4s formed the main tank of American, British, Canadian, French, Polish and Chinese units. The M4 was the equal of the German medium tanks, the Panzer III and Panzer IV, at the time it first saw service in 1942. Over 4,000 Shermans were supplied to the Soviet Union, beginning in mid-1943. The M4, although reliable and easy to maintain, was already outgunned by the time the US encountered the up-gunned and up-armoured German medium tanks in Italy and Northern Europe (the Panzer IV and various German self-propelled guns)and by late 1943 the arrival of German Panther and Tiger I were even graver threats due to the range, accuracy and penetrating power of their main guns. While it is commonly believed that the Sherman had a tendency to explode catastrophically due to their use of petrol, this is incorrect. It is now known that early models suffered from poor ammunition storage; later versions with "wet" storage designs were no more likely to explode than other contemporary tanks. Flawed United States armour doctrine played a major role in keeping the M4 undergunned in 1944-1945. >>>The doctrine emphasized that tanks were to be used primarily for infantry support and exploitation,<<< while the role of fighting tanks was to be carried out by the tank destroyer branch, armed with both towed and self-propelled guns such as the 3 inch Gun Motor Carriage M10. The 3" GMC M10 was thinly armoured, with an open-topped turret mounting a 3-inch gun that was very powerful by mid-war standards.< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanks_in_World_War_II
          Georg
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Carlos Cruz
          @walt A tank is always a offensive weapon, no matter how you deploy it... and no the US Army never deployed the tanks as infantry support. They learned the leasons from the frensh and british befor the jumped into the war. At the beginn Germany was the Army were the used 3000 tanks in 3 groups a 1000 tanks pircing easy through every enemie line...the frensh and british used 3000 tanks in 1000groups of 3 and were overrun because they were helpless outnumbered outspeed everytime they faced a German tank force. As the US Army jumped into the war they have already learned that leasson that you need massive tank formations to crush every enemy resitance at a vital key point of the front. There was no German assembly line in north africa, russia, sizilia etc..the logistic line from Berlin to Stalingrad was nearly 3000km ~1900miles and there was no option to use ships to move cheap great masses ... they needed trains US Army ww2 study clearly showed that it took 5Shermans to knock out a single Panther or Tiger and that means 4Shermans killed befor the last Sherman was in the position to deal with the weaker side armor. Germany did not lost vs the US Army... it lost vs the allied forces of Russia, UK and USA because they were helpless outnumbered everywere... It is also a mythos that the USA was able to outproduce German tank production in big numbers...US produced ~69,000meduim tanks till the end of 1945.. Germany produced some 50,000tanks (~10,000light Pz 1+2 + Pz38 / ~30,000medium tanks Pz 3+4 / 10,000heavy tanks Panther/Tiger/Kingtiger) what broke Germans Army neck was that they faced ~70,000 US tanks + ~80,000russian tanks + ~10,000british tanks +6000frensh tanks...
      Rick C.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Amazing they can find that many customers willing to gamble and take a chance. VW is the reason I became a AAA member back in the 90's.
        A3_Rob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rick C.
        So many people are living in the past. - your post even references 2 decades ago. The same time that Hyundai was a joke as well. People's memories are long and the perceptions get outdated fast if you don't try and keep them current. For example, I can't get my dad to see Audi as a premium car because he always equates it to DKW cars that he remembers from the '50s back in Germany. He thinks that they're nice, but they're not the same value as BMW to him. Hyundai has managed a miracle somehow - they have done a great job of rebuilding their reputation in North America when I am sure that it was waaaayyyyyy worse than VW during the '90s. How'd they do that?
        Carlos Cruz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rick C.
        I've had VW's all my life and aside from maintenance and some recalls and a PCV valve a while back I've had no problems with my VW's.
        Pdexter
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rick C.
        Meh in European market VW is doing just fine in reliability. You can't get in to the position like that if you'r car brake down every km.
          Lachmund
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Pdexter
          eah....americans seem to have a strange and stubborn behavior concerning stereotypes or bad experiences. i don't get it either. maybe it has to do with their mexican produced vws?!
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rick C.
        yeah....americans seem to have a strange and stubborn behavior concerning stereotypes or bad experiences. i don't get it either. maybe it has to do with their mexican produced vws?!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        strangely only americans feel this way. either they are different or the rest of the world is wrong...ehm?!
      EvilTollMan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Being on top doesn't make you the best...
        RocketRed
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EvilTollMan
        Right, if you sell more cars and make more money than other car makers, it doesn't mean you are the best. That's why I maintain that Suzuki is the best automaker in the world, followed by BYD and Lada. Haters will hate.
          Essende
          • 3 Years Ago
          @RocketRed
          @RocketRed, here is the thing, selling more cars does not equal making more profit, just ask GM. To me its amazing that VW is basically a top 3 auto manufacturer and they didn't even conquer USA market. Just shows that you can be a very successful car company without US sales.
          EvilTollMan
          • 3 Years Ago
          @RocketRed
          I'm glad you agree with me but I'm not sure I can agree with you, lol. To each his own though..
          Synthono
          • 3 Years Ago
          @RocketRed
          Actually, it really doesn't make you the best. Toyota started running into quality issues once they decided to be the biggest of them all, and GM's collapse is well documented - and they managed to sell more cars and yet make less money than other car makers.
      TG
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.autoblog.com/2007/09/24/toyota-to-be-overtaken-in-2015-by-the-germans/ We all thought they were crazy....
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      Once they do this, I'll be looking out for unintended acceleration cases. At least, I WOULD be looking out for them, if it weren't for the fact that vw's never work long enough to reach any kind of speed.
        Lachmund
        • 3 Years Ago
        @IBx27
        some peoples minds and stereotypes in this forum are quite scary.
          IBx27
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Lachmund
          Just ask any of my friends with vw's who are always sulking because they have to drop ANOTHER $200 on a little part that keeps the car in limp mode when it breaks. If they didn't do the work themselves they definitely wouldn't be in the same unconditional love with their car they have now.
      Skicat
      • 3 Years Ago
      Egomaniacal CEOs never learn. GM and Toyota have already proven beyond doubt to be the biggest is NOT to be the best. Too bad the executive class can't stop overcompensating for their physical shortcomings by putting quantity ahead of quality..
      Siugt8
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well lets see how VW would have done if they were part of the 'Unintended Acceleration' witch hunt (Only in America for some reason) plus a Tsunami in Germany? I wouldn't mind them getting to the number one spot if they had some dignity but the way they did it trying to buy up everything just to get to top spot then publicly stating they want to beat BMW & Toyota etc. Why is it so important to them? I don't remember Toyota ever bragging about being no.1 or making the best selling car (Camry) in America for years. The quicker they rise the quicker they fall!
        bhtooefr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Siugt8
        VW's actually had an unintended acceleration witch hunt in the US, although unlike Toyota's, theirs was 100% driver error. Keep in mind that "VW" in this case includes all of VW's subsidiaries - so Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Skoda, too.
          Bruce Lee
          • 3 Years Ago
          @bhtooefr
          Yeah Toyota's was 99.9% idiot driver error and 0.1% idiot dealership error.
    • Load More Comments