Thursday, December 2, 2021
News Toyota #1 In Global Sales Dethroning Volkswagen

Toyota #1 In Global Sales Dethroning Volkswagen

Europe’s massive decline in auto sales in 2020 enabled Toyota to take the title of global best-seller from Volkswagen


  • Volkswagen lead in sales in 2019, barely out-selling Toyota.

  • In 2020, Toyota edged out VW by 200,000 units.

  • The global pandemic hurt VW more than Toyota.


For all intents and purposes, all the numbers are staggering, be they positive or negative. In 2020, Toyota, whose sales dropped 11% from 2019, still delivered 9.53 million units. In Volkswagen Group’s corner, their numbers fell 15% in 2020 to 9.31 million deliveries.

The main differentiator between the two auto giants is their market presence. Toyota is gargantuan in North America which faired the pandemic’s ravages better than others. Light vehicle sales fell 14.4% in 2020 on this side of the Pond. In Europe, where VW essentially runs the place, new passenger car sales fell an “unprecedented” 24% compared to 2019, according to Automotive News (subscription required).

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Volkswagen

Up until 2020, the Volkswagen Group (Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Seat, Porsche, and a few others) outsold Toyota for five consecutive years, from 2015. Looking ahead, analysts are predicting that Volkswagen will take back the top spot in 2021, Toyota is expected to pull ahead each year up to 2025.

Globally, 76.8 million new vehicles were sold in 2020. That result is expected to climb to 84.4 million in 2021 and reach a staggering 94.8 million by 2025, barring any other unforeseen issues.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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