By on February 3, 2009

It’s the hottest road race of the year. Who are the champs and who are the chumps of the global auto industry? Everybody who’s somebody wants to become a statistic in “world motor vehicle production by manufacturer.” Officially, that race is not over until the fat lady at OICA, the “Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles” or International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, sings. OICA still has the 2007 numbers on their website. Yet, General Motors has already conceded the top post to Toyota. All other manufacturers have already announced their numbers. While OICA is taking their good old time counting, the Nikkei [sub] performed its own tally.

The Nikkei’s bottom line: “The three leading U.S. automakers fell backward in rankings of global auto sales in 2008, losing out to Japanese rivals specializing in subcompacts and to South Korean and German carmakers enjoying strong footholds in emerging markets.”

It’s already old hat that Government Motors relinquished its 76-year post as the world’s No. 1 automaker to Toyota. GM’s sales had dropped 10.8 percent for the year, while Toyota dropped only 4.2 percent. Last year GM could maintain its master of the universe status only with creative bookkeeping. Number 3 is Volkswagen, up from number 4 in the previous year. Volkswagen was the only maker in the top 5 with a gain, as slight as 0.6 percent may be. Hot on VW’s heels is Renault-Nissan. Ford has been tossed far away from the podium. With a loss of 17.5 percent in the year, Ford is now only Number 5, followed (the outrage, the shame) by Hyundai. Honda is 7, PSA 8, Suzuki ranks 9. Fiat proudly enters the Top 10 in 10th place. And lest we forget that there was something called the Detroit Three, the Nikkei rubs it in by showing the Top Eleven: With a whopping loss of 25 percent, the largest on the list, Chrysler, formerly Number 9, now plays in the Junior League in 11th place.

All in all, sales at the 10 top global automakers and their partners slipped 5.8 percent in 2008. The Nikkei: “The woes are likely to continue in 2009, when the rankings could get another shake-up depending on merger and acquisition activity.”

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9 Comments on “And The Hits, They Keep On Coming: The World Carmaker Top Eleven...”


  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if Volkswagen can actually become the world’s biggest carmaker by 2015, as per their prediction.

    At the time, it sounded laughable; now, they’re 3rd biggest in the world, they have good growth in China and Russia and have a good cash hoard to press forward.

    Mind you, this is assuming that Toyota stay static. Highly unlikely….

    P.S. I thought it was standard industry practice to include the sales figures of subsidiaries of whom the parent company owns more than 50%? That’s why Ford didn’t include Mazda (only 33%). If that is the case, how did Renault include Nissan, in their figures?

  • avatar
    menno

    Bogus graph by someone in Japan. Putting Nissan and Renault together is about as much use as putting Suzuki and General Motors together back when GM owned a portion of Suzuki. Nobody did that. If Nissan and Renault were to fully merge, well, then that would be a bird of a different color.

    This makes the list slightly different, and more along the lines of what the automotive world has accepted elsewhere.

    Toyota #1
    GM #2
    VW #3
    Ford #4
    Hyundai #5 (this is the global position as listed in Automotive News)
    Honda #6 (I bet most Americans have no idea that Honda is smaller than Hyundai)
    Nissan #7
    PSA #8
    Suzuki #9 (I’m dead sure virtually no Americans even realize Suzuki is in the top 10 of automakers worldwide, but a lot of Indians, Chinese, Japanese and others know it)
    Renault #10
    FIAT #11
    Chrysler #12

  • avatar
    menno

    Hi Katie, nice to see you on here. Hope you are doing okay in the snow. I’m not taking the mickey; I know when you are not used to it, and don’t have full snow tires, it’s a bear to get around. A friend emailed me and said it took her an hour to get home from work in the UK, and it was 4 miles, I think she said.

    Ignore the ignoramisus in our newspapers on this side of the pond poking fun at how London could withstand the blitz but was knocked out by 8″ of snow.

    A pal of mine was in the US Army in the late 1970′s and stationed in South Carolina, when they got 1″ of snow. The closed the base.

    Can you imagine the laughter in the Russian military bunkers when they heard about that?! My pal (also from Michigan) was the only person able to drive. The Army people told him to stop driving “out of safety sake” until the snow melted (I think it made them look like fools).

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    Hi Menno,

    Not wishing to hi-jack the thread, I’m ok. I’ve got my Jaguar X-Type and it’s got all wheel drive. I was nice and safe. :O)

    P.S. your newspapers need to get their facts straight. There’s NO WAY that it was 8 inches of snow. More like 14.

  • avatar
    menno

    Wow, you guys were truly slammed. Of course, I’m sure it could have been 8″ in one spot and 14″ in another.

    Where I live, it is clay earth and just about everywhere surrounding the area where I live, is sandy earth. Coincidentally or not (and I think it’s not coicidence) we “TYPICALLY” get about 2/3 of the snow that everyone else around us gets, as far as depth. At least, most of the time.

    I just cannot explain the “why”. But I’ve lived in our house since 1999 and it’s fact. We have friends living in pretty well all directions away from us, 5 miles away and they DO get more snow.

    It’s kind of like my conundrum with ethanol infused fuel & my Prius. “Experts” can scoff at my huge MPG drop with 10% ethanol/gasoline mix, but I’m the guy spending the money at the pump and looking at the real-life numbers. I can’t necessarily explain the “why” but I likewise know that’s real, too.

    BTW, Katie? I’m considering a “future collectible” and have a few possibilities in mind. One is a 1992 Mercedes 300SD turbo-diesel ($2200), I’ve found one. I’m also a sucker for walnut & leather, always have been, never bought a Jag because I knew dang well the Lucas “issues” (plus not having any Brit car mechanics anywhere within a 2 hour drive is not much help when you are broken down). But the X-type is essentially as reliable as any other modern car, no? The older ones are simply considered “old used cars” and are soon at the bottom of their depreciation curve. Whether they’ll ever go up again (as in “become collectible”) I don’t know, and don’t care. I just want something to enjoy as a weekend toy. Any advice on what to look for in an older X-type? Every car has foibles and weak spots. Give me a heads up on what to look out for? -Menno PS the reason I want a more modern “fun car” is that not having any safety equipment and being surrounded by the imbeciles here in Michigan who are trying to aim their cars whilst talking on their mobiles, finally made Corvair convertible driving “not fun any more.” As in, potentially lethal.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    About Ethanol, there’s been a law passed in the UK which decrees that ALL petrol and diesel sold in the UK must have 2.5% biofuel (i.e Ethanol) This figure will rise to 5% at a later date. My fuel economy has been a bit ropy, but I’ve off setted this, by buying premium fuel (i.e Shell V-Power). This cleans your engine (you have no idea how dirty regular fuel makes your engine) and gets you better fuel economy. It may cost more, but it is offsetted by the extra miles.

    In my Toyota Yaris, I used to get 335 miles to a tank, with Shell V-Power, I now get 360+ per tank (tank is 45 litres and I normally do town driving). I’ve tried BP Ultimate and it’s just as good. I steer clear of Total, Esso and Texaco fuels. They’re rubbish.

    With regards to stuff to look for on an X-type, here’s a website which might help:

    http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/index.htm?md=164

    This website gives a car-by-car breakdown of loads of cars and tells you what’s good, what’s bad, what to look for and existing recalls. It’s a cracking website.

    Things I know about the X-Type are these:

    If you get an X-Type with All Wheel Drive (and I do like them), make sure you get one with a manual gearbox. With Auto gearboxes, the transfer box has a tendency to fail at about 70K. I’ve never had a problem with the electrics and if you decide to give anyone a lift (especially young children) in it, be careful. Jaguar’s have an exceptional ride quality. When I first drove mine, I nearly yakked up! I’m very prone to motion sickness!

  • avatar

    @Katie: If it would be standard industry practice to only count sales figures of subsidiaries of whom the parent company owns more than 50%, then the numbers would be missing all of China. VW for instance owns only 40% of FAW, and 50% (but not more) of SVW. AFAIK, GM owns 50% of Shanghai GM, SAIC owns the other 50%. As far as Ford goes, Changan held 50%, Ford 35% and Mazda 15% of the JV. This may have changed after Ford and Mazda separated. But none own more than 50%

    China certainly is in all these numbers, without China, VW for instance would have reported a mil less ….

    As far as Nissan goes, Renault holds 44.3% of Nissan shares, while Nissan holds 15% of (non-voting) Renault shares. However, OICA lists Nissan and Renault as separate entities in 2007.

    The gripe with GM in 2007 was that they counted everything where they had some, even the tiniest interest.

    @menno: That “someone” in Japan is the Nikkei. Nikkei, as in Nikkei index. It’s the Wall Street Journal of Japan.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Wow, I had no idea Hyundai was larger than Honda, and I am American, so there’s some more anecdotal evidence for you, menno.

    As far as VW goes, this does lend some credibility to their claims. Overcoming GM shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. GM is losing market share, VW is gaining, albeit only a little. While the same relationship is true for Toyota and VW, Toyota seems like more formidable competition. Arguably, though, cracks are appearing in their armor. I am excited to see what pans out.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    @ Herr Schmitt,

    Then, surely, it’d be more logical to take the percentage of the sales figure relevant to the holding?

    Example: Renault’s holding would entitle it to 44.4% of Nissan’s sales figure and Nissan could take 15% of Renault’s figures. That way, China’s figures could be reported with everyone taking the sales figures they’re entitled to?

    Also, since Renault and Nissan are separate entities (they haven’t merged, despite what people say) how can they merge sales figures?


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