The Truth About Cars » World’s largest automakers The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:51:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » World’s largest automakers Toyota Officially Wants To Make More Than 10 Million Units This Year – Very Carefully Wed, 08 May 2013 12:13:14 +0000 IMG_2494

By now, most of you who care about these things are aware that Toyota today announced an annual net profit of $9.73 billion for the fiscal that ended on March 31, more than three times of what the company made in the year before. By now you probably heard that the “weaker yen” is the reason. Not really, says Toyota, claiming that “effects of FOREX rates” added only $1.5 billion to the bottom line. There is another number you may not have heard.IMG_2398

Buried in the supplemental materials, handed out at 3pm in the packed basement conference room at Toyota’s Tokyo HQ, is the news that for the first time, Toyota budgets to cross the 10 million unit mark this fiscal. According to its plans, Toyota wants to sell 10.1 million units this year, including Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino, and, often a source of confusion in the past, but no longer this time, including China. China is looking a bit better after emotions over the islands have cooled down a bit. April sales in China were at 93 percent of their previous year levels, I hear today, and with a few new and sorely needed products, Toyota wants to sell more than 900,000 units this fiscal in the Middle Kingdom.

A few weeks ago, we predicted 10.06 million units for Toyota’s calendar year.

If Toyota delivers this plan (and they usually budget like a porcupine having sex – very carefully) it would be the first auto manufacturer in the world to cross the magical 10 million unit line.

IMG_2495Toyota is even more careful when it comes to bricks and mortar. Other than some OEMs who build new factories faster than cars, overcapacities elsewhere be damned, Toyota wants to use what it has. It will stick with building planned factories such as in Thailand and Indonesia. It may add a little capacity here and there, but otherwise: “No new factories,” its CEO Akio Toyoda says today.

Whenever we talk about production volumes and new records, there are the usual comments that what counts is profits, not volume. Toyoda agrees. “Growth is not the same as the expansion of sales volume,” says Toyota’s CEO today. “Some may think that now is the time to get aggressive. However I think that we are just about to start our sustainable growth.”

Like no other carmaker, Toyota went through a series of gruesome catastrophes that would have brought many others to their knees. What did not kill it, made Toyota stronger. It also taught it to plan for other catastrophes.

Big 3 Comparison
Net Profit (billion) Operating profit (billion) Units CY 2012
Toyota $9.73 $13.36 9,909,440
GM $4.86 $7.86 9,489,000
Volkswagen $28.45 $15.08 9,070,000
Financial data: GM, VW: Year ending 12/31/2012
Toyota: Fiscal ending 3/31/2013

For those who advocate that profits are more important than volume, here is a handy table with volumes for the last calendar year and profits for last year’s reporting period. In case you wonder about Volkswagen, refresh your memory here.

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World’s Largest Automakers 2013: GM Maintains Narrow Lead Over Volkswagen – Tight Race Expected Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:16:36 +0000

GM published global sales numbers for the first quarter of 2013, and media from The Detroit News to Bloomberg considered it headline material that GM edged out Volkswagen – barely. Who would have thought that the scrappy maker of cars that – if the blogs are to be believed – can’t keep their wires from crossing is breathing down the neck of the formerly mighty General?

Tracking the world’s largest
 automakers: Q1 2013
Q1’13 Q1 ’12 YoY
Toyota 2,434,104 2,705,770 -10.0%
GM 2,360,958 2,278,192 3.6%
Volkswagen 2,270,000 2,160,000 5.1%
Source: Company data. Toyota: Production, estimate
GM: Sales. VW: Deliveries

GM sold 2.36 million units worldwide in the first quarter, the company says. Volkswagen is just 90,000 units behind at 2.27 million sold. GM’s sales grew 3.6 percent in the first quarter while Volkswagen’s grew 5.1 percent – despite a very tough situation at home in Europe.

Toyota will publish its quarterly numbers some time next week, so for the time being we can only extrapolate from the first two months. The picture for the first quarter is what we probably will see for the rest of the year: A very tight race for the top spot that could be won by any of the three once the year is over.

Toyota had planned for a flat 2013 to digest the large increases in the prior year. This was before the island troubles put a crimp in their plans and those of all Japanese automakers in China. Toyota’s worldwide production was down 6.2 percent for the first two months of the year, and we expect this trend to continue.

In the same China, the race for world dominance is decided. Volkswagen sold 769,200 units in China in the first three months, up 21.3 percent from the 633,900 it sold last year. GM kept Volkswagen in check in China by selling 816,373 units, up 9.6 percent. Nevertheless, even there the race is tight, and the two contenders are separated by what counts as rounding errors in China.

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Toyota To Close The Year 80,000 Units Shy Of 10 Million Wed, 26 Dec 2012 17:28:54 +0000

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.

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World’s Largest Automaker 2012, An Update Wed, 31 Oct 2012 15:19:55 +0000 September Production and Full Year Forecast 9M ’12 9M ’11 YoY Proj ’12 Toyota 7,681,891 5,583,328 37.6% 10,243,000 GM 7,054,000 6,948,000 1.5% 9,405,000 Volkswagen 6,710,000 6,110,000 9.8% 8,947,000 Black: Company data. Toyota, GM: Production. VW: Deliveries. Forecast by TTAC

With GM’s  third quarter release also and finally came the long-awaited global production numbers for the first nine months. We need  production, because the race for the world’s largest automaker is decided by  how many cars are made, not by how many are sold.

We don’t make the rules, if you want to complain, do it with OICA.

Plugging the data into our spreadsheet, the race appears to be pretty much decided. As mentioned before, Toyota’s numbers will probably be less than what the current projection says as China is taking its toll. The current indications are a little bit less than 10 million for Toyota.

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Volkswagen Wants To Overtake GM. In A Golf Tue, 04 Sep 2012 11:17:52 +0000

“Volkswagen is on course to bump General Motors into the world no.3 ranking this year,” writes Reuters. That’s not all. Volkswagen “aims to sell a world-leading 10 million vehicles by 2018, up from the 8.36 million recorded last year, and push past Toyota.”

The car that is supposed to lead Volkswagen to world domination is an also-ran in the U.S., but it is one of the world’s most sold cars. It is the Golf, and its seventh generation will be revealed tonight in Berlin at the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Mies van der Rohe designed temple of modern art.

“Success of the new Golf is absolutely critical to VW’s expansion targets but the new version will be battling in a tough environment,” said Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center of Automotive Management think-tank near Cologne, told Reuters.

It is also the first full scale roll-out of the new MQB architecture. This architecture makes the word “platform” obsolete. Instead, is a system of standardized building blocks. Says VW R&D Boss Ulrich Hackenberg:

“It gives us the possibility to produce models from different segments and in varying sizes using the same basic front-end architecture. We can go from a typical hatchback to a saloon, cabriolet and SUV with only detailed changes to the size of the wheel carriers.”

The new technology aims to make production of 3.5 million small- and mid-sized cars 20 percent cheaper, and shorten assembly time by 30 percent. It also can significantly shorten time to market.

Top 3 World, July Production and Full Year Forecast
7M ’12 7M ’11 YoY Proj ’12
Toyota 6,126,101 4,054,608 51.1% 10,502,000
GM 5,619,000 5,515,000 1.9% 9,633,000
Volkswagen 5,190,000 4,750,000 9.3% 8,897,000
Black: Company data. Blue: Projection, based on last available
Toyota, GM: Production. VW: Deliveries. Forecast by TTAC

Whether Volkswagen will bump GM to third place this year is very doubtful. As the results of the seventh lap of the race of the world’s largest automakers show, Volkswagen is far behind leading Toyota and second-placed GM. To bump GM, Volkswagen would have to rev up production a lot, and GM would have to fail big-time in the second half of the year. Also, Volkswagen needs to aim much higher than 10 million by 2018. Toyota is set to reach 10 million this year.

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