As usual at this time of the month, Toyota released full month sales and production figures for the preceding month, and as usual in January, the numbers are for the full calendar year. Readers of TTAC will not be surprised by the data, a look forward into 2013 however can get quite exciting. Or unnerving. The podium of the World’s Largest Automakers promises to be in disarray in 2013.
|World’s Largest Automakers|
|Full Year 2012 Data|
|12M ’12||12M ’11||YoY|
|Source: Company data.|
|Toyota: Production. GM: Sales. VW: Deliveries.|
With Volkswagen having announced its data two weeks ago, the only number that is missing is GM’s global production number. We are using published sales until we have the number. We expect it with the annual results. It will not change the ranking. Toyota ended the year 2012 with a worldwide production of 9,909,440 units, up 26.1 percent, and with sales of 9,748,000 units, up 22.8 percent. No surprise at all, it is pretty much what Toyotas figured a month ago.
In case you’re dwelling under a rock: The number we are tracking at TTAC is production, not sales. Not because we like production better. OICA, the world umbrella organization of automakers, uses production for its list of largest automakers, and so do we. “Sales” is a very elastic and tortured term anyway. It can mean real registrations, make-to-order bookings, sales to dealers, sales to wholesale, CKD sales, sales to sales organizations. Ever so precise Volkswagen uses “Auslieferungen”, or deliveries. At VW, a car is produced when it passes Zählpunkt 8 (count point eight), but it is delivered when it is shipped. More than you ever wanted to know.
Instead of dwelling on arcana, let’s look forward. Unlike 2012, which (at least in our view) was decided when it barely had begun, 2013 promises to be interesting right to the end. It also is the first year where Volkswagen has a halfway realistic chance of fulfilling its dream of world domination. Let’s have a look.
Toyota is on record that it plans to catch its breath in 2013, after its incredible comeback from the shock of 2011, which was a disaster year of biblical proportions. After earthquakes, tsunamis and floods, it’s only a rain of frogs that is missing. Wait, GM has a patent on those. Toyota wants to add maybe two percent to its sales and plans for flat production numbers. Let’s call it 10 million.
If Volkswagen maintains its 2012 growth rate of 11.2 percent, then it could pass the 10 million mark by a hair, or 80,000 units. Unlikely, but possible.
Likewise, if GM maintains its 2.9 percent growth rate, it would reach 9.6 million and land in place three.
All of these are big ifs. We will know a little more in a few months.