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VW likely to win global sales crown

..As Toyota growth slows

Volkswagen can in all likelihood claim the title of world’s biggest automaker for the first time. This is even as Toyota is likely to relinquish the title of the world’s biggest automaker. Only last Monday, the Japanese automaker reported that it sold 10.175 million vehicles worldwide in 2016, fewer than Volkswagen’s 10.31 million.

The slip represents a milestone achievement despite for the German car company despite the taint to VW’s reputation from a huge scandal over cheating on emissions tests. Booming China sales helped offset that damage.

It is on record that the Japanese Toyota Motor Corporation has held the global auto crown for the past four years, although it fell behind General Motors in 2011, when production was hit by a quake and tsunami in north-eastern Japan.

Detroit-based GM was the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades until Toyota, which makes the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models surpassed it in 2008.

Toyota’s global sales last year were slightly better than in 2015, up 2 percent, but not good enough to beat Volkswagen, which has the Audi, Porsche and Skoda brands, and boosted its global sales 3.8 percent from the year before. GM makes the Cadillac and Opel cars.

In 2015, Toyota sold 10.15 million vehicles while Volkswagen was second with 9.93 million and GM third with 9.8 million.

Toyota officials have repeatedly said they are not concerned with being No. 1, but is rather concerned with just making good cars. Volkswagen was keen to dethrone Toyota but disavowed that goal after CEO Martin Winterkorn lost his job over the emissions scandal.


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