Toyota reclaims crown as world’s biggest car company


Toyota was the world’s best-selling carmaker in 2020, taking back the title from Volkswagen Group in a year hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The Japanese giant reclaimed the crown thanks to a sales decline that was less severe than its arch-rival during the global pandemic. Toyota sales were down 11 percent in 2020, to 9.53 million vehicles. Volkswagen Group deliveries fell 15 percent, to 9.31 million. It is because Volkswagen is more reliant on the European new car market that led to its greater decline: sales in the region fell 24 percent in 2020 (and they were down 29 percent in the UK).

Trade body the ACEA described the EU sales decline to less than 10 million vehicles as “unprecedented”, reports Automotive News. Toyota performs more strongly in the US, said the industry title; sales there declined 14.4 percent in 2020. It is the first time in five years that Toyota emerged as the world’s biggest car company. Automotive News adds that it could be part of a longer-term trend.

Although VW Group is expected to regain the title again in 2021, Toyota will then pull back ahead every year to 2025, thanks to strong sales in Japan and the US.

Overall, 76.8 million cars were sold across the world in 2020. This should recover to 84.4 million in 2021, and hit almost 95 million by 2025.


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