Volkswagen pips Toyota to top global sales

epa04863569 (FILE) A file photo dated 05 May 2015 showing an assistant polishing a VW logo at the Volkswagen AG shareholders' meeting at the fairground in Hanover, Germany. Germany's Volkswagen has taken the crown as the world's top carmaker after its sales overtook those of Japanese rival Toyota during the first half of the year, it was reported 28 July 2015. Toyota, the manufacturer of Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and the top-of-the range Lexus, said its group sold 5.02 million vehicles worldwide in the six months ended June, down 1.5 per cent from a year earlier due to weak domestic sales. Volkswagen, which has a long-held goal to overtake Toyota as the world's number, said this month it sold 5.04 million vehicles in the six-month period. VW sales also fell during the first six months of this year, sliding by 0.5 per cent after strong demand in North America and Europe failed to offset a drop in sales in China - the world's biggest car market.  EPA/OLE SPATA

Tokyo

(Associated Press)

Volkswagen overtook Toyota in global vehicle sales for January-June, the first time the German automaker has come out top in the intensely competitive tallies.

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday it sold 5.02 million vehicles in the first six months of this year, down 1.5 per cent from the same period the previous year, as sales struggled especially in the languishing Japanese market.

Volkswagen AG said earlier this month that it sold 5.04 million vehicles during the same period.

Sales were robust in Europe and North America but fell in China, usually a strong market for the company.

Its first-half sales were 0.5 per cent down from the same period in 2014.

Detroit-based General Motors Corp, the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades until being surpassed by Toyota in 2008, is expected to report its figure on Thursday.

GM retook the sales crown in 2011, when Toyota’s production was hurt by the quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, made a big comeback in 2012, and has been the world’s top-selling automaker for the past three years.

In the first half, Toyota’s sales grew in US, Mexico and China.

Last year, Toyota sold 10.23 million vehicles, beating Volkswagen and General Motors.

But it has said it’s expecting to sell fewer trucks and cars this year, forecasting sales will fall one per cent year-on-year to 10.15 million vehicles.

Volkswagen sold 10.14 million vehicles in 2014.

VW makes the Beetle and Golf cars, and also has the Porsche, Bugatti and Audi brands under its group.

GM, which makes the Cadillac and Opel cars, was third at 9.92 million vehicles in global sales last year.

The ranking could still change when numbers come in for the entire year.

None of the automakers say they are trying to be No. 1 for the sake of being No. 1.

But the industry crown is coveted and significant.

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