“We’re number one!” Toyota has proudly exclaimed for the better part of time since 2008. Well, not so much these days as General Motors has officially taken back the title of number-one automaker in the world.
Mind you, limited production capacity due to supplier shortages and damaged factories after earthquakes and tsunamis struck Japan last March has some bearing on the worldwide sales tallies for the first half of 2011. However, Toyota didn’t just slide back by a hair. It took a nosedive into third place behind GM and German automaker Volkswagen, selling 3.71 million vehicles to GM’s 4.53 million a Volkswagen’s 4.13 million.
For the Japanese giant, production capacity tumbled 23 percent for the first half of the year to 3.37 million cars, leaving shortages for new cars on many dealers’ lots around the world. In the U.S., Toyota’s sales declined 7.7 percent. At the same time, GM’s sales rose 8.9 percent worldwide with U.S. sales increasing 15.3 percent across all brands.
Analysts predict it could take years for Toyota to get anywhere close to its market dominance it enjoyed before a flurry of recalls last year and natural disaster struck this year. By that point, GM, Volkswagen, and fast-movers like Hyundai could open a much wider lead as the market changes.
Sources: Bloomberg, Toyota, General Motors