If the year would have ended on May 31st, Toyota would be the world’s largest automaker by a wide margin, followed by GM, and a distant third, Volkswagen. The year is not over until it’s over, but 5 months are a good indicator for the rest of the year. Let’s have a look.
|5M ’12||5M ’11||YoY||Proj ’12|
|* projection based on Q1 data, no 5 month data available|
Based on hard production data delivered by Toyota and Volkswagen, and an educated guess for GM, Toyota can end the year with more than 10 million units produced, followed by GM with 9.7 million and Volkswagen with 8.8 million units. We are forced to guess GM’s performance. Other than its peers that deliver global data on a monthly basis, GM only delivers global data in its quarterly report. We will have to wait until August to receive better data. However, our very simplistic straight-line model tests out quite well against known 5 month data of GM, as supplied for NA, China, and Europe. We count all divisions and subsidiaries, Toyota includes Daihatsu and Hino, just like GM includes Wuling, and like Volkswagen includes every last Lamborghini
The fact that Toyota’s internal (and usually very conservative) plan calls for 9.7 million units for the current fiscal gives further credence to this projection.
Toyota clearly has shaken off the demons of witch hunt, earthquake and Thai floods. Toyota is still accelerating where others lose steam. 5 months into the year, GM barely grew in the U.S. It is up 11 percent in China, it is down 11 percent in Europe. Volkswagen finds itself dragging an increasingly heavy boulder called Europe. Like its Asian peers, Toyota does not have much market share in Europe, and where you don’t have much, you don’t have much to lose. GM’s exposure to Europe is halfway between Toyota and VW. Volkswagen is betting its reputation and the career of countless managers on becoming the top car company by 2018. Currently, they are going backwards.
GM’s propaganda operatives find themselves in a tricky position: GM’s only chance to win the 2012 race lies in a rebound of the Chinese market, where GM outperforms. This rebound would refute the ideology of China being on its last gasp, just about to keel over. Choose your poison.
Usual note: The numbers used are production data, not sales data. Not because we cherry-picked the better set. Production data are used for the ranking of World’s Largest Automaker by OICA, the umbrella organization of global auto manufacturer associations, and if you want to replicate that ranking, usage of the correct data is advised.