Toyota Overtaken By Volkswagen As The World’s Biggest Car Maker

German carmaker Volkswagen AG has reported that it sold 10.74 million cars in 2017 and this was an improvement of 4.3% from the previous year. With Toyota estimated to have sold 10.35 million vehicles last year, the German auto giant is expected to overtake the Japanese firm as the biggest car maker in 2017. Volkswagen also led the pack in 2016 when it sold 10.3 million cars.

One of its best months was December last year when sales at the German auto giant, whose brands include Seat, Skoda, Audi, and Porsche, grew by 8.5%.

“We are grateful to our customers for their trust. We will continue to do everything we can in 2018 to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers all over the world,” the chief executive officer of Volkswagen, Matthias Mueller, said.

Volkswagen brand

Most of the sales by Volkswagen AG last year were for its flagship Volkswagen brand which recorded total car sales of 6.2 million units. Volkswagen AG’s number two brand was Audi which saw sales of 1.9 million units followed by Skoda which recorded sales of 1.2 million units. In fourth position was Seat of which 468,000 units were sold. The number of Porsche cars sold was 246,000.

The strong sales by Volkswagen are a signal that the German auto giant has turned around and managed to put the ‘dieselgate’ scandal behind it. The scandal which first came to light in September 2015, resulted in reparations, penalties and fines after claims of cheating with regards to carbon emissions surfaced.

Successful turnaround

It is estimated that the total cost of the scandal to the company is over $20 billion. The new Volkswagen AG CEO is credited with steering the company away from its focus on production of diesel cars and engineering an investment of $40 billion in autonomous and clean energy cars.

Volkswagen AG recorded the fastest growth in markets that were not affected by the ‘dieselgate’ scandal. This included Southern America where sales rose by 23.7%, Eastern &Central Europe where sales increased by 13.2%. In the Asia-Pacific regions sales of Volkswagen went up by 4.3%.

Volkswagen AG also saw its sales in China increase by 17.8% last month to reach a figure of 460,100 cars. Predictably sales of Volkswagen AG cars in the United States, where the dieselgate scandal was mostly concentrated, fell by 5.2%. There was also a fall in sales in Europe including in the carmakers home market of Germany where deliveries fell by 0.4%. Monthly sales however picked up last month.

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