According to The Wall Street Journal, VW has said it will be adding some 200,000 units to its previously released sales total, contributions from some commercial truck manufacturers that are subsidiaries. Moreover, the WSJ has called into question GM's practice of counting the vehicles sold by two Chinese partners in which GM does not have a controlling interest. Liuzhou Wuling Motors sold 1.2 million vehicles in China last year, according to the report, which the Journal says some analysts don't count in tabulating their numbers. If those vehicles were excluded from GM's nine million vehicle sales total, it would drop behind VW.
Further controversy may cloud third place on the list, as the Nissan-Renault partnership may have passed Toyota in the rankings, according to the report. That is, if you accept the notion that Nissan and Renault are one company and that Renault's AvtoVAZ subsidiary should have its sales numbers count. Renault has a 25-percent state in the Russian company, notes the report.
Since there's little agreement about what rules should govern the accounting, until one of the top four really separates itself from the rest and pushes its total sales over 10 million vehicles, we will likely continue to see the annual global sales championship end in argument. VW, for what it's worth, seems hell-bent on becoming the undisputed largest car company, having repeatedly stated its intention to top 10 million sales.