What all three might appreciate even more than the crown – except for VW, who is monomaniacal about the No. 1 tag – is that sales volumes and profitability are up, at least in America. Toyota's sales rebound from the catastrophes of last year (and indeed, the last few years) is being underlined by its performance here, where the Prius Plug-In is the third-best seller against a background of the nation's best car sales market in five years. Even with double its usual fleet sales in Q1, Toyota expects this financial year's profits to double.
The year isn't over yet and it remains close, but for now it looks like there'll be good news for everyone. Well, until 2016, when Volkswagen is predicted to vanquish all challengers at the top of the podium, two years ahead of its own ridiculously ambitious schedule.