Japanese automaker Toyota has beaten the German auto giant Volkswagen in vehicle sales during the COVID-19 struck year 2020, regaining the top position as the world’s highest selling automaker for the first time in 5 years as the slump in demand due to pandemic hit its German rival harder.
According to the statement released by Toyota, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been spreading since the beginning of 2020, the company was able to continue corporate activities through comprehensive implementation of various infection prevention measures, and by working together with partners including suppliers and dealers. In addition to these efforts, Toyota enjoys the support of customers around the world who favor Toyota vehicles, enabling Toyota to limit the decline in sales to just 10.5% year-on-year and maintain domestic production at the 3-million-unit level.
The statement added that although Toyota’s global sales in 2020 were down 10.5% YoY, but they were up by 10.9% year-on-year in China, the biggest market of the world. In December 2020, global sales were up 10.3% YoY, the 4th consecutive monthly increase. The growth has been driven primarily by sales in North America, China, Europe, and Japan. During the October to December quarter, global sales were up 6.8% year-on-year, exceeding initial expectations.
In total Toyota sold 9.528 million vehicles in 2020 all around the world, compared to which Volkswagen saw 9.305 million vehicles sales registering a 15.2% decline. Keep in mind Toyota’s net sales include its subsidiaries including Hino and Daihatsu, the breakdown of which is given as under:
Automakers have suffered badly in 2020 as COVID-19 lockdowns have stopped people from visiting car showrooms and forced manufacturing plants to reduce or halt production operations. Toyota however, has dealt with the pandemic better than the others. According to a company spokesman:
“Our focus is not on what our ranking may be, but on serving our customers.”
As global car sales rebounds, particularly in China, Toyota, Volkswagen and other manufacturers are scrambling to tap growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs). Toyota said that the ratio of EVs it sold grew from 20% in 2019 to 23% of total sales in 2020.