And The Hits, They Keep On Coming: The World Carmaker Top Eleven

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
and the hits they keep on coming the world carmaker top eleven

It’s the hottest road race of the year. Who are the champs and who are the chumps of the global auto industry? Everybody who’s somebody wants to become a statistic in “world motor vehicle production by manufacturer.” Officially, that race is not over until the fat lady at OICA, the “Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles” or International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, sings. OICA still has the 2007 numbers on their website. Yet, General Motors has already conceded the top post to Toyota. All other manufacturers have already announced their numbers. While OICA is taking their good old time counting, the Nikkei [sub] performed its own tally.

The Nikkei’s bottom line: “The three leading U.S. automakers fell backward in rankings of global auto sales in 2008, losing out to Japanese rivals specializing in subcompacts and to South Korean and German carmakers enjoying strong footholds in emerging markets.”

It’s already old hat that Government Motors relinquished its 76-year post as the world’s No. 1 automaker to Toyota. GM’s sales had dropped 10.8 percent for the year, while Toyota dropped only 4.2 percent. Last year GM could maintain its master of the universe status only with creative bookkeeping. Number 3 is Volkswagen, up from number 4 in the previous year. Volkswagen was the only maker in the top 5 with a gain, as slight as 0.6 percent may be. Hot on VW’s heels is Renault-Nissan. Ford has been tossed far away from the podium. With a loss of 17.5 percent in the year, Ford is now only Number 5, followed (the outrage, the shame) by Hyundai. Honda is 7, PSA 8, Suzuki ranks 9. Fiat proudly enters the Top 10 in 10th place. And lest we forget that there was something called the Detroit Three, the Nikkei rubs it in by showing the Top Eleven: With a whopping loss of 25 percent, the largest on the list, Chrysler, formerly Number 9, now plays in the Junior League in 11th place.

All in all, sales at the 10 top global automakers and their partners slipped 5.8 percent in 2008. The Nikkei: “The woes are likely to continue in 2009, when the rankings could get another shake-up depending on merger and acquisition activity.”

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  • B-Rad B-Rad on Feb 03, 2009

    Wow, I had no idea Hyundai was larger than Honda, and I am American, so there's some more anecdotal evidence for you, menno. As far as VW goes, this does lend some credibility to their claims. Overcoming GM shouldn't be too much of a hassle. GM is losing market share, VW is gaining, albeit only a little. While the same relationship is true for Toyota and VW, Toyota seems like more formidable competition. Arguably, though, cracks are appearing in their armor. I am excited to see what pans out.

  • Cammy Corrigan Cammy Corrigan on Feb 03, 2009

    @ Herr Schmitt, Then, surely, it'd be more logical to take the percentage of the sales figure relevant to the holding? Example: Renault's holding would entitle it to 44.4% of Nissan's sales figure and Nissan could take 15% of Renault's figures. That way, China's figures could be reported with everyone taking the sales figures they're entitled to? Also, since Renault and Nissan are separate entities (they haven't merged, despite what people say) how can they merge sales figures?

  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.
  • Lorenzo The other automakers are putting silly horsepower into the few RWD vehicles they have, just as Stellantis is about to kill off the most appropriate vehicles for that much horsepower. Somehow, I get the impression the OTHER Carlos, Tavares, not Ghosn, doesn't have a firm grasp of the American market.
  • UncleAL ...Oh, did I forget ? My Dodge Challenger gets 50% more gas mileage and 200% more fun !