Last May I said that Toyota will end the year as the world’s largest automaker with around 10 million units produced. When I did that, some people gave me a look usually reserved for people who sadly lost it. Even the good folks at Toyota did not want to comment, at least not in my face.
Toyota will end the year with 9.92 million units produced, up 26 percent on 2011.
Toyota expects (vis-a-vis Reuters) sales of 9.7 million units for 2012, however, we are tracking production, because OICA’s list of the World’s largest automakers goes by production, not by sales. All numbers on a group level, with Daihatsu and Hino included.
Toyota could have easily pierced the 10 million barrier, if there would not have been anti-Japanese riots in China, with a subsequent near-boycott of Japanese cars in China, the effects of which could cost Toyota several hundred thousand units. In October, we corrected our forecast to “a little bit less than 10 million.” And that is what it is going to be.
China is one of the reasons why Toyota budgets very carefully for 2013. Group-wide, Toyota expects to produce 9.94 million vehicles and sell 9.91 million vehicles in 2013, up just a hair from 2012.
The unintended acceleration scandal did not quite kill Toyota, as many had pronounced. The tsunami did not wipe out Toyota, as some had silently hoped. Toyota embarked on a mammoth come-back, and it was clear in the first half of the year that Toyota is back alright.
Now, the company is catching a breath. This will make 2013 a highly interesting neck-on-neck race between Toyota, GM, and Volkswagen. All three of them could pierce the 10 million in 2013.
P.S. OICA’s list of the world’s largest carmakers usually is issued in July or August. This year, it took well into November. It may have been held up by a scandal. Originally, this list was published. A few days later, the list was rep[laced by this one. The difference: On the new list, the results of all Chinese manufacturers are “under review.” We tried to reach OICA for a comment, but being based in Belgium, the association is on Christmas holiday.