Toyota leaves Volkswagen far behind in 2021

Status: 01/28/2022 12:13 p.m

The Volkswagen Group sold significantly fewer cars last year than in 2020. The reason was missing components. The competitor Toyota, which expanded its position as world market leader, shows that there is another way.

The Japanese Toyota group defended its top spot in global sales last year, significantly widening the gap to its rival Volkswagen. The company sold 10.5 million vehicles worldwide, ten percent more than in the previous year. The group also includes the small car specialist Daihatsu and the commercial vehicle manufacturer Hino Motors.

Rival VW, on the other hand, had to accept a drop in sales of 4.5 percent to 8.88 million vehicles last year. The chip crisis and other supplier problems caused Volkswagen sales to slip noticeably again in the second Corona year 2021.

The gap between Volkswagen and Toyota has increased significantly to a good 1.6 million vehicles. In 2020, the Japanese had moved back to first place in the global rankings and gained a lead of around 350,000 vehicles. In the years 2016 to 2019, on the other hand, Volkswagen was ahead of Toyota, albeit only just.

GM knocked off

The US company General Motors has now completely dropped out of the race for the world number one. GM has not yet presented global sales figures for the full year 2021. But last year, GM was replaced as market leader in its home market by Toyota for the first time. Previously, the Americans had held that title for 90 years.

Toyota sold 2.3 million vehicles in the United States last year, an increase of ten percent. General Motors posted a 13 percent decline to 2.2 million vehicles. GM was the world’s top-selling automaker in 2011.

Science knew

Since the middle of last year, most car manufacturers have been struggling with massive problems in the supply of supplier parts, especially semiconductors. One of the secrets of success for the Japanese is apparently the particularly high proportion of their own added value in the end product. According to calculations by Hans-Erich Müller, professor at the Berlin School of Economics and Law in 2019, around a year before the start of the pandemic, only 24 percent of the value added at Toyota comes from external suppliers.

In a study by the Hans Böckler Foundation, the scientist was quoted as saying: “Not outsourcing, but the development of partner relationships with suppliers, employees and customers is one of Toyota’s secrets of success.” And further: “People are aware that outsourcing can undermine technical strengths and core competencies”.

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