The Volkswagen Group has soared past Toyota Motor to be the world’s largest automaker in 2016, capturing the crown for the very first time while attributing almost entirely to sales in China.
Volkswagen sold 10.31 million vehicles worldwide in 2016 compared to Toyota’s 10.18 million, up 3.8% from a year earlier.
The Japanese automaker, Toyota had held the crown for being the world’s largest automaker for seven of the last eight years, after it captured the crown from General Motors in 2008. GM lost the crown in 2008 to Toyota after holding it for decades and neared collapse into bankruptcy and a federal bailout.
The company briefly recaptured the crown in 2011, during its resurgence when Toyota’s sales dipped amid concerns, later deemed unfounded, over unintended acceleration.
In case of Volkswagen, previous year’s gains primarily came from China, where it is the largest seller of new vehicles.
The company sold 3.98 million vehicles in 2016 in China, up 12.2% for the year. U.S. sales fell 2.6% for the year to 591,100 units.
China could surpass Europe as VW’s largest market in 2017. VW’s Europe sales were up to 4% with 4.21 million units in 2016.