Toyota Motor Corp. has retained its spot as the top-selling automobile manufacturer in the world for the fourth straight year, with the company being the only one to deliver over 10 million vehicles in 2015.
Toyota said that it sold 10.15 million vehicles last year, compared to 9.93 million vehicles for Volkswagen, which is embroiled in its emissions scandal, and 9.8 million for General Motors.
The number of vehicles sold by Toyota, however, is actually lower by 0.8 percent compared to 2015. For Volkswagen, sales decreased by 2 percent, while for General Motors, deliveries increased but only by a mere 0.2 percent.
The company beat its sales guidance for 2015 of 10.10 million vehicles, and for this year, Toyota's forecast is just slightly higher compared to that figure as the company expects to sell 10.11 million vehicles in 2016.
The 2015 sales figures ends a year that saw Volkswagen at the top of the list over the first six months, but the German automobile manufacturer slipped in the standings as it found itself amid an unprecedented crisis. The car company was found guilty to have cheated on emissions tests for some of its diesel-powered vehicles, which forced Volkswagen to stop the sale of such vehicles in certain markets and to divert its attention towards the repair of 11 million vehicles affected by the issue.
Volkswagen, however, was able to retain the second spot on the annual vehicle sales list, a feat that was likewise achieved by General Motors that stayed at third.
General Motors, the company behind Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and Opel, was the top-selling car company for over seven decades until Toyota surpassed it in 2008. It was able to briefly reclaim the throne in 2011, but only because a tsunami and earthquake struck the northeastern region of Japan, which disrupted Toyota's production for that year.
"Toyota's hegemony will probably not be challenged for the next few years after the big setback for VW," said Fourin analyst Zhou Jincheng, adding that the gap between the two companies will only grow wider as Volkswagen will be taking time to adjust its strategies amid its ongoing scandal for markets including the United States and Europe.
Toyota is already thinking of making it five years in a row as the top-selling car company, as it is reportedly thinking of acquiring full ownership over its 51 percent-owned mini vehicle manufacturer Daihatsu. Full control over the brand would allow Toyota to leverage the lower-cost Daihatsu better, as well as cut procurement costs.