By on January 24, 2014


For the second consecutive year, Toyota is the No.1 automaker in the world, followed by General Motors and Volkswagen.

In 2013, Toyota sold 9.98 million units across the globe while GM and VW moved 9.71 million and around 9.7 million units respectively. For 2014, the No. 1 automaker aims to break past 10 million units sold with a goal of 10.32 million by the end of the year, a 4 percent increase over last year’s total.

While Toyota originally predicted in 2007 that they would move 10.4 million units by 2009, the path to 10 million sold was hampered by the combination of the Great Recession, rapid changes in corporate culture, unintentional acceleration recalls, and the 2011 Tōhoku-Fukushima disaster.

Previously, Toyota held the No. 1 title from 2008 to 2010, briefly losing in 2011 to General Motors — who lost said title to Toyota in 2008 after holding it for 80 years — before reclaiming the crown in 2012 by 451,000 units. Overall sales between the two automakers in 2013 rose 4 percent for GM, 2 percent for Toyota.

Though the automaker’s president Akio Toyoda may be happy with the news and the potential to move past the 10-million mark, volume is not a motivating factor in his overall strategy. Instead, building ever-better vehicles and changes to how they are built, such as Toyota’s new Toyota New Global Architecture modular production system, are the main focus for the No. 1 global automaker.

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37 Comments on “Toyota Remains No. 1, Outsells GM and Volkswagen in 2013...”

  • avatar

    If you don’t talk about becoming #1 all the time but focus on building cars that people want, you may actually becoem #1 (memo to VW and GM)

    • 0 avatar

      So the world wants reliable bland mobiles with middle of the pack performance.

      • 0 avatar

        It seems much of the world does want that. Is that a problem for you?

        • 0 avatar

          Let’s not forget that 10 million vehicles equate to a global market share of 12%. So even being #1 doesn`t mean more than s small minority are buying your vehicles.

          • 0 avatar

            So Toyota, GM and VW sales combined roughly amount to only 35% of annual global sales?

            By “vehicles” do you mean anything with wheels and an engine… ore trucks… ambulances? If not, who’s making all those other private passenger cars & pickups?

            Obviously Ford, Fiat and Nissan account for a large chunk but all these combined with the Top 3 wouldn’t even total 70% globally. Who’s making the last 30-ish percent?

          • 0 avatar

            Didn’t check but I’d guess:
            4th Renault-Nissan
            5th Ford
            6th Honda
            7th Hyundai-Kia
            8th Fiat-Chrysler

            Renault-Nissan and Ford are close to the top 3, while the other 3 I mention are in a sort of 2nd division, within reach, all by their lonesome, of the mythical 6 million units Marchionne has said again and again is necessary to compete globally.

            After that, they get smaller and smaller and into that category of “help-wanted”.

          • 0 avatar

            But I’ve already included Ford and Fiat/Chrysler and that still leaves at least 30% to fill.

          • 0 avatar

            Oooops, didn’t see Fiat there. Let’s not forget Hyundai-Kia, they’re closing in on Ford and may have passed Honda. Fiat-Chrysler seem to have sold about 4.4 million last year and they’re on the bottom of that “second division”.

            I would guess the rest are split up between Peugeot-Citroën, Mercedes and BMW, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Tata, Mahindra, a cohort of Chinese among many others.

            So GM, VW, Toyota close to 10.

            Renault-Nissan and Ford around 7-8, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Fiat-Chrysler form 4-6.

            PSA 2? BMW, Merceds 1? Mitsu, Suzuki 1-2?

            It’d be nice to have a full table, as all I’m saying is guess-work.

          • 0 avatar

            Me, too. I need to get mentally un-assed and look up some figures and how they’re differentiated between vehicle classes.

          • 0 avatar

            When I said vehicles I meant cars and trucks. Not big construction diggers etc. The 80 million figure was on TTAC sometime last year under the old management.

            I agree it would be good to see a full breakdown. Marcelo is correct about PSA, Mazda, BMW, Mercedes all of which contribute 1+ million to the total.

          • 0 avatar

            Top 10

            1.Toyota group 9.98
            2.VW group 9.72m
            3.GM 9.71
            4.RN+Avtovaz – 8.2m my estimate
            5.HK 7.56m
            6.Ford – 6.1m my estimate
            7.Fiat-Chrysler 4.43m
            8.Honda – 4.15m my estimate
            9.PSA – 2.82m
            10.Suzuki – 2.6m my estimate

            Those with my estimate- we must wait few days of official numbers, but i should be pretty close

            Also SAIC sold more than 5 million vehicles in 2013, but if we give them total numbers than GM and VW are smaller, but basically SAIC is right now between 6th Ford and 7th Fiatch-Chrysler so they are in reality 7th biggest automaker but about 80% of their sales are from GM and VW joint-ventures and basically half are marques of VW and GM – like producing VW, Chevy´s, Buick´s, Skoda´s vehicles that they are producing because of JV policy, otherwise GM, VW would have their own factories, rest is Wuling and their marques like Roewe and other JV´s with Iveco and so on.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks romismak.

            So Hyundai-Kia leapfrogged even Ford? Impressive. Also, thanks to Chrysler, Fiat passed Honda. Interesting. If Honda isn’t careful, they could soon join PSA et al in the wrung below.

            Interesting about SAIC. Though Toyota has a few JVs too, they mostly go it alone. That means then that their 10 million would have brought them much more money than VW or GM as the last two have to share profits on 4 million cars sold (80% of SAIC’s 5 million) with SAIC.

            So money wise, GM and VW are probably raking in as much as Ford and Hyundai-Kia.

            If Toyota could crack the Euro market, as in be in the top 3 in sales in most Euro markets, they could find themselves in a position of predominance.

          • 0 avatar

            ACtually automotive industry is still fractured behind top 10 there are other international manufacterers like Daimler,BMW group,Mitsubishi, Mazda, Isuzu and other, than indian Tata,Mahindra, and many chinese: Dongfeng, SAIC,FAW, Changan, Chery, GEely, Great wall, BYD. Global industry is so big that even juggernaut like Toyota is not even coming close to having big market share globally.

          • 0 avatar

            Hi Marcelo,

            Actually Ford is behind Hyundai-Kia i think since 2009, HK are growing last decade at unbelivable speed, while Ford became smaller with US market situation + they sold Volvo,JLR,cancelled Mercury

            Yes Fiat-Chrysler i´ve been counting together 2-3years, but Fiat group in 90s many yeaers was bigger than Honda, just Fiat stagnate, while Honda became bigger globally, in late 90s it was like 2.5m both Fiat group and Honda

            About Honda-PSA don´t worry, Honda has great geogprahy present, i mean strong in ASEAN, NA, growing quickly in Chinese market now, they will be fine, PSA went down with EU crisis + almos half million CKD´s stopped being shipped to Iran was also big blow for struggling automaker…

            Yes Toyota in China is much smaller than VW -GM, they have JV with Faw and GAC, so their chinese operations are like 9% of their global sales, while in VW-GM about 1/3 is from China… that´s huge number being even bigger in future mabe 40% will be from China and you must share your proffit with SAIC+ FAW – Gm has just small JV with them but VW China is half FAW, half SAIC – some imports like Audi´s, Porsche´s and better looking VW´s.

            Money wise you can always check annual reports, but Toyota is doing fine, huge automaker, big proffits, GM´s proffits are much smaller and VW is catching up to Toyota but thanks yo YEN now Toyota is more proffitable.

            Also if you want check numbers like i do – some companies are relasing monthly, some quarterly sales resuls

            Monthly: VW, Japanese-just production figures,Nissan also retail numbers each month, Fiat-chrysler, Germans

            Quaterly: French companies, GM, Ford,

          • 0 avatar

            Hey romismak, thanks for the info. I agree with you completely. Your analysis is spot on. I think the key for the future is the global, geographical presence.

            Toyota, Honda are big in the US, home markets, growing big in China, growing more slowly in South America, Europe. They’re also pretty big in other Asian markets like Thailand, Indonesia. They need to get into India.

            Fiat-Chrysler need to get the ball rollin in Europe again. Protect their presence in South America. They also need to get into Asia. A sure fire way to do that would be Suzuki. Mazda is too small but could give them some numbers.

            Ford needs Asia. Seems like they finally started in China.

            Renault-Nissan seem to be in a very good position.

            Hyundai-Kia is impressive. Wonder if they can keep that ball running or are they running out of steam? Of course they have the whole chaebol behind them (like Mitsubishi and Subaru…).

            The Chinese are eating away at the edges. Growing in East Europe, Africa, developing smaller Asian markets, gaining a foothold in South America. They could soon have a maker in the top 10.

            GM. GM is tough. Growth in the US and America should keep them afloat. In Latin America the latest Korean Chevies have helped grow. They need to get in India and other smaller Asian markets soon.

            VW has to crack America.

            Yes, it’ll be interesting to watch. I’m guessing that in 2024, the table will be somewhat different. Hyundai-Kia, Renault-Nissan wll have closed in the gap with the big 3. Ford, Honda, Fiat-Chrysler will be in the second division along with some Chinese.

            Don’t know what will happen to PSA, Suzuki or Mazda. It would seem they are ripe for the picking.

            Finally, Mercedes has Daimler behind them so they can go on for as long as they want, but BMW could also see changes soon (as soon as the next family generation takes over). For the moment, they’re very profitable, but that won’t last forever. I think PSA would be a good start for them as they were unable or unwilling to make Mini a volume seller. They need volume and a presence in the mass market. Wonder if the 1 Series is enough.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes i think global presence is by far most important factor, i mean automaker can have great cars, but if you don´t have strong history and many dealerships in big emerging markets than you can´t grow so quickly. Basically South America was always US-EUR automakers, now some japanese, chinese, koreans even indians are there but still GM, VW,Fiat, Ford, PSA, Renault have decades of footrpints there, ASEAN, Middle east are japanese + US, in Middle east HK are strong now 2nd biggest after Toyota. EUR was always home players + US duo Ford,GM-but they are over century in Europe they, are basically home guys too… in GM´s case OPEL is EUR brand anyway

            About Fiat-Chrysler well Fiat always was only Europe + South America and Chrysler was always mostly NAFTA. So they need 3rd player from Asia in order to be global player – Mazda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi probably.

            Ford is doing fine, they are right now fastest growing major automaker, their One Ford strategy is working, outperforming in US so far, EUR operations turning slowly, China firing from all cylidners, exporting SUV´s pickups to Middle east,Africa. Ford is doing great job.

            Chinese are doing fine but from their independent brands it will be difficult to become truly global player and those state big players like SAIC, Dongfeng, FAW they are all about JV´s so far and proffits from them.

            In 10 years ranking could look much different with mergers or acquistions who knows, but top 6 with Toyota, VW, GM, RN, HK and Ford seems to be above of rest – Fiat, Honda.

            About Daimler and BMW i think they should be fine, China will grow next decade, Russia, India, South America, it will be golden decade for luxury marques so BMW, Mercedes should be fine , maybe sharing technologies and investing like BMW is doing with Toyota, PSA but they should be fine Germans i think.

          • 0 avatar

            H/K grew at a quick pace b/c they were building or expanding factories in China, India (Hyundai), Russia, Brazil (Hyundai), Eastern Europe and Turkey (Hyundai).

            Right now, their plants are at capacity and they have no plans to build new ones even tho they desperately need another plant in NA.

            Ford had slower growth b/c they ignored the Chinese market, but they have been investing billions in new factories in China so they should continue to see growth for the next couple of years.

          • 0 avatar

            “Ford had slower growth b/c THEY IGNORED the Chinese market, but they have been investing billions in new factories in China”

            A Major problem with Ford has been timing, prime example. Whether hat investment will pay off is another question. The Billion invested in India is starting to look like a bad investment.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Yeah, pretty much. That way, you can feel nice and smug and elite about your RWD, manual-transmission-equipped *whatever*, since there will be fewer such cars on the road.

  • avatar

    Expected numbers from all 3 biggest players, maybe Toyota did little better in last quarter.

    Next year will be interresting, because each of them should sell about 10.25-10.30 m vehicles by my calculations, Toyota probably will stil end up No.1 thanks to YEN exchange rates – it will give them opportunity to sell bigger volumes – thanks to incentives in markets where their vehicles will come from their JAP factories.

    VWG and GM basically ended up 2013 at the same numbers we must wait few days for MAN and Scania annual reports, but VWG probably sold something like 9.717-9.720m that would mean they sold few thousand vehicles more than GM – they sold 9.714m.

    Next year all big markets will grow – China, NAFTA and Europe, so it will be interresting to see how big fall will Japan have after that tax increase in April – it will decide Toyota´s numbers a lot, because they are huge in Japan.

    GM could end up also No.1 next year with ideal circumstances, big growth in NAFTA region + CHina, but their decision to witdhraw from EU means even if Opel/Vauxhall will outperform EU growth, still Chevrolet division will pull them down so i expect GM in EU sell similar number of vehicles in 2014.

    • 0 avatar

      I mean 2014 when i say next year:D i am still in 2013 in my head:d

    • 0 avatar

      I think Ford is not doing all that well. There was a threat by them to pull totally out of the UK if it pulled out of the EU. In India. The Indian Economy has major problema.
      The 1 Billion invested by Ford to build a Kuga SUV plus other vehicles is not such a good idea. China’s manufacturing output has dropped dramatically in the last couple of days. Thailand e “Detroit” of Asia has had major unrest,dropping production considerably. Toyota has threatened to pull out investment.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford is doing great if we look at Ford motor company from neutral view. I mean they didn´t need bailout like GM and Chrysler + they are now growing really fast, One Ford strategy is working, reduced costs thanks to global platforms, outperforming US market with new great vehicles, sedans, SUV´s + pickups.

        In Europe are doing right choices, cut down workforce, closed plants, slowly turning from loss to proffits – also here helps that in next 2-3 years EUR market will be recovering growing back

        China – after coming late to China and have handicap, they are now 5th biggest foreign automaker there after VW, GM, Nissan, Hyundai, have great products for chinese market and momentum right now so 2014 should be another fanfastic and record year for Ford China

        South America – doing o.k, in Brazil they sold more in declining market, thanks to Ecosport being success

        AFrica-Middle east doing o.k, exporting from Us plants + they have South african production too.

        Australia- well there is problem with production in AUS being hard choice right now with strong USD and cheap imports and open market…

        India- this year was tough, but longterm India will be 3rd biggest market after China, US so just wait and nobody was doing so good this year there, but Ford had, their Ecosport was huge succes also they are exporting from India so Ford India is not doing so bad after all

        ASEAN-Ford will become stronger in next years thanks to production in Thailand

        They are on right track with just 1 brand strong brand to be global powerfull automaker and player – they have also Lincoln but that just 2nd tier luxury marque nowadays

        • 0 avatar

          Here in Brazil, the neé Fiesta is no slouch either. Focus, Fusion, Ranger are gaining. New Ka should be available in March. Looks like 10 percent of the market is doable. Ten. years ago people were saying they were about to leave. I agree with romisak, great times for Ford.

        • 0 avatar

          Disagree . They are NOT ONE Ford, they are many Fords. They have the F150, Explorer etc in NA. HDT Trucks in Brazil and other South American specific vehicles.
          As you have pointed out they are not doing terribly well in South America, Australia , India and Europe.Highly unlikely Ford will have much of a prescience in ASEAN countries as that is an Asian manufacturers “Boys Club”
          Lincoln is close to being terminated on sales numbers, only the prestige of losing their only Luxury mark keeps it going.
          China can be very much affected by a downturn in the Chinese economy and their are strong indication the “bubble” related to Real Estate could burst.
          H/K has been the real global standout, followed by Renault/Nissan.H/K shot past Ford. Ford was the 4th largest Global manufacturer now 6th.
          Ford could be challenged Globally by Fiat/Chrysler in the future.
          No they did not need the Bailout as they had made sure they had enough liquidity. Still the Company is highly geared and needs to bring down its debt.

          • 0 avatar

            One Ford was never meant to completely eliminate regional platforms or make all platforms available to every market.

          • 0 avatar

            [email protected]
            It just makes Ford like every other Automobile manufacturer on the planet, no different.

          • 0 avatar

            Of course there are different vehicles in CHina, in Europe in NAFTA in Brazil, but the point is more sharing, reduced costs and so on One Ford strategy doesn´t mean the same vehicles everywhere, it´s not possible…. but you have for example Eco boost engines globally SUV Ecosport is succes globally too.

            Yes Ford will never be major player in ASEAN region, but they have potential to grow, to have higher market share and reduce market share of Toyota – which is alredy so big in Thailand, Indonesia, Phillipines – Malaysia is specific market with govermenet protection and domestic automakers

            I wrote 2nd tier to Lincoln, because they are basicly only in NAFTa, few exports to GCC oil rich nations and now they will go to China but basically FMC is just 1 global Ford brand, but Lincoln will survive i think

            I wouldn´t be so worry about China, market is still growing and potential is still big, yes GDP and economy will slow eventually, that´s logical next step but auto sales will grow next decade at least

            HK are great story, but you can see now strong WON make export profits headache for their boss + also they have now brand issues how to make Hyundai-Kia different from each other and other stuff, like slowing sales after years of rapid growth, which is also decision of management, that they don´t need more plants – they want 1st improove image and quality, so we will see how HK will grow next decade but their rapid growht is over that´s for sure

            About Fiat-Chrysler – without 3rd partner from ASia they won´t challenge Ford, Ford is and will be bigger in NAFTA, Europe, China – 3 biggest markets and Ford is doing well in emerging markets too comparing to Fiat-Chrysler that has only Fiat legy in Brazil-Argentina but are non-factor elsewhere, exporting some SUV´s and pickups from US to Midle east just like GM and Ford but still are clearly behind them also there…

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, but Ford is not sharing platforms and chassis’s compared to other manufacturers and that is the irony of “One Ford”..ASEAN as a Trading Bloc will exclude non-members. Ford is selling a lot of low profit small cars in China, bulk of Ford’s profits come from Pickup sales in NA..Agree Fiat is looking for another partner to help it climb up the rankings.

        • 0 avatar

          Ford was helped by the bailouts to the auto suppliers, federal loans and the “cash for clunkers” program.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Instead of talking about “Detroit’s big-3”, in the future we’ll be using the phrase “World’s big-3”.

    It is a tight race, and as romismak mentions, any miscalculation or mishap from any of the players and the positions can change.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “Instead, building ever-better vehicles and changes to how they are built, such as Toyota’s new Toyota New Global Architecture modular production system, are the main focus for the No. 1 global automaker.”

    Maximum sales for maximum sales’ sake is not sustainable, and it will eventually end in a crash-and-burn type scenario, so I think this is a better idea. Toyota is at a point at which it can turn things around and produce higher quality cars without first being exposed and embarrassed for the relative cheapness of some of its current offerings, like Camry, Corolla, Yaris and Tundra. And Toyota also needs to work on its small-offset crash safety. How is it that the quite-large 2014 Highlander only scored “Acceptable” in that test, when virtually every other large crossover got “Good”?

    • 0 avatar

      This. I find myself constantly pointing out profit and sustainability should be the real measuring stick. How long did GM hold onto that title while using incentives, fleet dumping, and other quick sale tactics. Too long because it inevitably led to bankruptcy.

  • avatar

    So you say Toyota is number one in sales? How could they have ever become number one without the union sucking the life-blood out of the workers, the community, and the nation? I toured the Georgetown Kentucky plant about ten years ago. STARTING wages were $23/hr. Management took all of the employees who had perfect attendance that year and then pulled six names out of a hat…each got a brand new car. They have on-site daycare. It was a clean, quiet, organized place to work. The other car makers have millstones around their necks.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with your last point, but it would be theoretically possible to be number one in sales/production after all GM was for years. What may not be possible is maintaining the profitability of the corporation in the US.

    • 0 avatar

      In Japan, Toyota workers are unionized.

      So are MB, BMW, Audi and VW workers in Germany and they are doing better than ever.

      Not saying unions haven’t had their issues, but a big problem was mismanagement/uncompetitive products.

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