By on September 26, 2012


TTAC maintains its long-held forecast that Toyota will regain the title of world’s largest automaker by the end the year, with a combined group production of around 10 million units. This trend was confirmed  today by TMC’s announcement of August 2012 data. The race will tighten up, but not because of huge sales gains by runner-ups GM and Volkswagen. Policy decisions in Tokyo and Beijing will likely cause Toyota to slow down.

August Production and Full Year Forecast
8M ’12 8M ’11 YoY Proj ’12
Toyota 6,904,333 4,757,211 45.1% 10,356,000
GM 6,421,000 6,303,000 1.9% 9,632,000
Volkswagen 5,910,000 5,360,000 10.3% 8,865,000
Black: Company data. Blue: Projection, based on last available
Toyota, GM: Production. VW: Deliveries. Forecast by TTAC 

By the end of August, Toyota had produced 6,904,333 units globally across Toyota, Daihatsu and Hino, that is 45.1 percent more than in tsunami-ravaged 2011.

A straight-line projection of TMC’s year-to-date performance yields 10.356 million cars for Toyota by the end of 2012. This number has remained more or less steady (with a slight downward bias,) since we started tracking it. Toyota’s internal (and usually very conservative) plan calls for 9.7 million units for the current fiscal.

Due to a lack of official data, it is hard to gauge GM’s chances with the same degree of certainty as Toyota and Volkswagen. GM publishes data only on a quarterly basis. The last data point we have is for June 2012, the rest has to be interpolated. However, we have not seen drastic changes at GM in the two months for which we have no data. GM’s performance in its main markets China, North America, and Europe continued the trend of the first half of the year.

Volkswagen also stays mainly in the same groove carved for the year so far.

Two black clouds are hanging over Toyota. The clouds are Japan. And Japan and China.

In Japan, the market is ending its torrid growth after the government subsidies have ended. A 25 percent reduction from pre-August levels could mean an adjustment by slightly more than 200,000 units  when the year ends.

The fallout from the Japan-China row will also put a damper on Toyota’s numbers. Toyota’s China sales last year totaled about 883,400 vehicles. Assuming a 25 percent downturn in China from current levels for the remainder of the year, this would mean an adjustment of 75,000 units. With that in mind, Toyota could make the 10 million, or will just barely miss the pinnacle. It would take a miracle however if GM keeps its current title of World’s Largest Automaker.

PS: Ironically, and officially, Toyota still is the world’s largest automaker. OICA, the umbrella organization of the world’s automakers usually publishes last year’s ranking of the world’s largest automakers, based on production, some time in August. They have not, and the world is still waiting. This keeps the last published ranking still in effect. It is from 2010, showing Toyota in place 1, followed by GM and then Volkswagen. If OICA waits much longer, then they can use this list for 2012 also.

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6 Comments on “World’s Largest Automakers: Toyota Leads, But Will Slow Down Due To Japan, And Japan And China...”

  • avatar

    “In Japan, the market is ending its torrid growth after the government subsidies have ended.”

    Wonder if American cars sold in Japan benefited from this Japanese government largesse like foreign carmakers benefited from cash for clunkers?

    • 0 avatar

      Lol the American presence in Japan is negligible. Thats why the Big Three complain so much about the “closed” Japanese market. According to our our Bertel, the reason for the pathetic American failure in Japan is that our vehicles are completely different from Japanese tastes, and historically have been of much poorer quality, and I think he’s right.

    • 0 avatar

      European cars sell better and better every year and they have certainly benefited from this… Still small amount of sales though.

      But MB/Audi/BMW sell comparable to Lexus and VW sells ok too… but Japanese market is weird, full of quirky cars and plenty of them – Toyota sells over 50 models in Japan.

  • avatar

    Toyota, unlike Nissan, is largely less impacted from China. Primarily because its performed so poorly there, and faltered multiple times in that economy with its late start. Which is why its only 75k units.

    The US market is expected to grow slower next year. That would be much more worrying to Toyota, as the US market has a higher operating margin.

    For GM in China, there is an great article on Market Watch. Andy Xie, one of Morgan Stanley top China economists, says that China should be credited with GM’s rescue, not US politicians.

    “China probably has accounted for over 100% of GM’s profits over the past five years, i.e., it is losing money elsewhere.”

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