Every year when we start talking about which automaker is the biggest in the world, there always seems to be at least a little bit of controversy. For 2013, Toyota handily took the top spot with 9.98 million sales, but it's the runner up spot between General Motors and Volkswagen that is starting to create a stir.
Toyota is the top-selling automaker in the world. Again. Still. With total reported sales, including those from subsidiaries, of 9.98 million in 2013, Toyota's performance was enough to outpace rival General Motors by around 270,000 vehicles. That's a 2.4-percent gain over 2012, and it makes Toyota the top-seller two years in a row. Still, the gap between the top three is shrinking – Toyota held a 460,000-unit lead in 2012.
Forbes has measured the largest 100 companies in the world, and 10 automakers have made the list. This list is unique in that it measures the size of a company using a combination of sales, assets, profits and market value.
We hope General Motors hasn't started planning that ticker-tape parade down Jefferson Avenue yet, as Volkswagen has apparently taken issue with the notion that GM might again be the world's largest automaker.
Look who's back on top again? Just 30 months since General Motors emerged from bankruptcy, the Detroit-based automaker can once again call itself the world's largest. GM sold just over 9 million vehicles globally in 2011, its highest sales total ever, while chief rival Toyota may slip as far as third place, according to TheDetroitBureau.com, which reports that Volkswagen will pass Toyota to claim the runner-up spot.
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.
Life ain't easy at the top. And, if you're Volkswagen, struggling to shove past both Toyota and General Motors on your way to becoming the world's largest automaker, it's not cheap, either. Says Martin Winterkorn, CEO of the gigantic conglomerate:
Over the last several years, few automotive stories have held as much interest as the global fight between Toyota and General Motors for worldwide sales supremacy. Don't look now, but there's a new combatant hailing from Germany ready to take the reigns: Volkswagen. However, VW's ascendancy has less to do with the German automaker's output -- GM and Toyota are shedding sales at a much faster rate than VW.