Volkswagen Sales Beat Out Toyota to Become World’s Biggest Auto Manufacturer

Volkswagen beats out Toyota to become the worlds biggest automakerWorldwide sales of Volkswagen vehicles grew 3.8 percent in 2016 to 10.31 million, allowing the German manufacturer to become the largest automaker in the world. The automaker had set a goal to be the top manufacturer in the world by 2018, but has clearly achieved that goal two years early.

Toyota, which held the position for seven of the last eight years, sold 10.18 million vehicles. The Japanese automaker’s sales grew only 0.2 percent last year. General Motors, which has not yet released its 2016 sales, is expected to come in third place again as it did in 2015. GM, however, held the top place for its worldwide sales in 2011.

Volkswagen may be on top of the world, but the company is still grappling with the effects of its diesel scandal.

That doesn’t seem to bother the Chinese who bought nearly 4 million Volkswagen cars last year, up 12.2 percent over 2015 sales. The number one market for Volkswagen remains Europe, but China is a close second and by the end of 2017 could be the top market for Volkswagen sales.

On the other hand, sales have plummeted 2.6 percent in the United States where only 591,100 vehicles were sold by Volkswagen.

Volkswagen Diesel Scandal

Roughly 500,000 diesel Volkswagen cars in the United States and another 10.5 million worldwide were fitted with emissions software that allowed the cars to pass strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tests set to eliminate or reduce smog and pollution. These “defeat devices” permitted the vehicles to pass the test and thus pollute the atmosphere against EPA recommended levels.

Volkswagen sold roughly 70-percent of the diesel cars owned by drivers in the U.S. The vehicles were ironically marketed as “clean” compared to gas engines and an alternative to hybrid and electric vehicles.

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