Toyota almost certainly will be the world’s largest car company again. It sits at a million vehicle sales ahead of rival Volkswagen, based on figures through April. Bloomberg points out that Toyota’s sales have declined almost 6% over the first four months of this year. However, VW’s sales are off by 26%.
Despite its lead, Toyota continues to have sales difficulties. In April, global sales dropped 11.1% to 763,708. Supply was slowed by the microchip shortage that has plagued the industry, and demand was hurt by sales in China, which has been hit by a COVID-19-driven crippled economy. Sales in China fell 30.7% to 111,134.
Investors like Toyota’s chances much more than those of America’s largest car company, General Motors. Toyota’s shares are off by 10% this year, while GM’s are down 36%. Investors worry that GM has fallen far behind in the electric car race. Rival Tesla continues to be the market leader. Ford just introduced an electric version of America’s best-selling vehicle, the F-150. The new model has been dubbed the Ford F-150 Lightning. It is expected to put Ford in the electric pickup lead by a large margin.
Toyota has jockeyed for the global sales lead for years. In many of these, both GM and VW were in the running. GM has lost its spot among the leaders and probably will not get it back. Its international sales are a small fraction of total sales, which leaves it highly dependent on the U.S. market.
Based on its current position as the number one car company in the world, and given VW’s struggles, Toyota is likely to stay in its current spot for several years.
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