For the past seven years, Toyota was the largest producer of cars in the world, but that record is now broken by Volkswagen for the year 2016, USA TODAY reports. Volkswagen had been looking forward to 2018 to win the title of the “world’s largest automaker,” but it arrived earlier than it thought.
This record has been made possible by sales achieved in China.
Although Volkswagen ought to be very happy with the latest record, it is a bittersweet experience because the automaker is currently facing a $22 billion settlement deal in the US for tinkering gas emissions in last year.
Regulators in the US found that Volkswagen used special software to rig its emission technology for diesel vehicles, giving customers a wrong idea of what emissions their vehicles outputted against federal regulations. Volkswagen eventually pleaded guilty to the conviction.
The gas emissions scandal is casting a shadow on the joyful achievement of beating Toyota to emerge the world’s largest automaker for 2016.
Volkswagen had sold 10.31 million vehicles worldwide for 2016 and Toyota had sold 10.18 million vehicles for the same year. VW’s sales volume had increased by 3.8% from that of 2015 and that of Toyota had only increased by 0.2% for the same period.
GM Motors had always been the world’s largest automaker before 2008, but Toyota usurped the position till last year, and now it is Volkswagen’s turn to occupy the space. GM lost the position earlier when it nearly went bankrupt and awaited a federal bailout.
Volume sales in China is to be thanked for VW’s sales for last year. Volkswagen sold 3.98 million cars in China in 2016 and sold only 591,000 vehicles in the US for the same period. It is being expected that China could emerge the largest market for Volkswagen vehicles in 2017, having sold 4.21 million VW vehicles in Europe in 2016.
Volkswagen produces VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles among others.