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Toyota Loses Top Global Automaker Crown Amid Trump Pressures on Trade
31 January 2017, 12:39 | Felicia Christensen
Volkswagen Group Is Officially The Worlds Largest Carmaker
Toyota Motor Corp. lost its title as the world's best-selling automaker to Volkswagen Group, ending the Japanese company's four-year reign, as demand for its flagship Camry sedan waned in the US and sales in China expanded at a slower pace than the overall market.
Toyota, which had topped sales for the past four years, sold 10.175 million vehicles globally in 2016, figures show. "If the Chinese and European markets continue to be solid and the USA market weakens as I expect, VW might stay first in 2017 as Toyota has a larger exposure to North America".
The German 12-brand carmaker moved back into the top spot despite being hit by a massive emissions cheating scandal that rocked its reputation.
VW agreed this month to plead guilty to fraud and pay fines amounting to $4.3 billion in the United States to close its emissions cases with the Department of Justice.
In the meantime Japanese Toyota's sales surged by 0.2% though it appears to have hurt a slowdown in the U.S. vehicle industry. Booming China sales helped offset that damage. In fact, sales are so strong that China could surpass Europe to become VW's biggest market by the end of this year. The recall exercise started in India in September 2016 with a software update on the 2.0 litre EA 189 diesel engine that was the forerunner in the emission scandal along with other diesel engines in the group's portfolio.
Although the figure is 0.2 per cent higher than 2015, it is lower than Volkswagen's 10.3 million units (growth of around 3.8 per cent) sold in 2016 despite the German manufacturer's recent emissions scandal. Last year, it came in third place. It last time topped the ranking in 2011 after Toyota's production was hurt by a huge natural disaster and tsunami in north-eastern Japan. "Toyota has made investment to build a new plant in Mexico and will have limited options to appeal to Trump".
Like his VW counterpart, Toyota's chief executive Akio Toyoda has tried to downplay the company's desire to be number one.
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