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Volkswagen finished 2016 as the world’s number one automotive company, edging out Toyota, which has just reported its global sales numbers for last year. Both companies are expected to finish well ahead of General Motors, which should take out the final podium spot.

Earlier this month, the Volkswagen Group announced that it had sold a total 10,312,400 cars and trucks throughout the 2016 calendar year, a 3.8 per cent increase from 2015’s figure of 9,930,500.

All of the company’s brands posted year-on-year sales increases, except for MAN Trucks. The core Volkswagen car brand was up 2.8 per cent to 5,987,800, while the group’s mainstream luxury marque, Audi, increased its sales 3.8 per cent to 1,871,300.


Skoda posted an increase of 6.8 per cent to 1,127,700, while Spanish car maker Seat was up 2.6 per cent to 410,200. Porsche also improved on the previous year, with sales up by 5.6 per cent to 237,800.

Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle arm posted the largest percentage increase, up 11.4 points, to 480,100 units. MAN was down slightly (0.2 per cent) to 102,200, while Scania is expected to come in 5.5 per cent better off with 80,800 trucks sold.

On-going reporting about the Dieselgate scandal hasn’t hurt the company’s global sales, although the negative news coming out from the States, not to mention an ageing American range, saw sales in the USA slip by 2.6 per cent.

The company managed to grow its sales sale in Europe by 4.0 per cent, although German sales were flat. The economic troubles in South America saw sales in the region drop by 24.6 per cent, with Brazil down an alarming 33.9 per cent to just 257,800 vehicles.

Poor results in those regions, and Russia, were more than offset by big gains (12.2 per cent) in China, which accounted for 3,982,200 sales.


The Toyota Group, meanwhile, managed to sell 10,175,000 cars and trucks worldwide last year, an uptick of 0.2 per cent. 9,224,000 of those were Toyota– and Lexus-badged vehicles, an overall increase of 0.4 per cent.

Daihatsu, which Toyota now owns outright, posted a 1.7 per cent sales decrease to 780,000 cars. Hino was up 1.0 per cent to 170,000.

Toyota managed its first sales increase in its homeland in four years, with 1,580,851 Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold there, an upswing of 5.5 per cent.

The core Toyota brand was up 0.9 per cent in the key US market, with 2,118,402 sales. Lexus sales in the USA, though, were off by almost four per cent to 331,228.


General Motors has yet to announce its complete global numbers for 2016, but the American company isn’t expected to be able to overhaul Toyota to claim second spot.

In its homeland, GM finished 2016 down 1.3 per cent with 3,042,775 sales. That slight drop was more than offset by the General’s continuing strong performance in China, where sales jumped up 7.1 per cent to 3,870,587.

Cadillac was up an impressive 46 per cent in China to 116,406 vehicles. The luxury brand’s Chinese numbers are in stark contrast to its performance back home, where it was down slightly to 175,267.

Once again, Buick continues to be GM’s volume brand in China with sales up 19 per cent to 1,180,372 units. The company also managed to move 525,273 Chevrolet vehicles in the Middle Kingdom.

Bolstered by new product, domestic brand Baojun shot up 49 per cent to 688,390 units, while Wuling, a brand specialising in small commercial vehicles, notched up 1,359,638 sales.

In Australia, Holden slid down 8.4 per cent to 94,308 sales, and dropped out of the top three for the first time in living memory.

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