World’s Largest Automakers: Toyota, Renault-Nissan, Volkswagen Neck And Neck – Forbes

Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017
Renault-Nissan ranked 2nd, both in May, and year-to-date

(c) Bertel Schmitt

Renault-Nissan ranked 2nd, both in May, and year-to-date

Five months into the year, Toyota and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are in a dead heat in the race for the World’s Largest Automaker title. Last year’s number one Volkswagen is not far behind.

For the month of May, Volkswagen is in the #1 position, with the Alliance trailing by less than a rounding error. For the more meaningful first five months of the year, Toyota leads, with the Renault-Nissan Alliance dangerously close behind by less than 6,000 units.

Toyota Motor Co. finally awoke from its no growth strategy, and so far is 6.5% ahead of its January-May production in 2016.

Volkswagen Group’s May deliveries were up 3.1%, powered mainly by strong sales in Volkswagen’s European home turf. Year-to-date, Volkswagen’s deliveries essentially were flat. Audi’s recent weakness is a drag on Volkswagen’s overall numbers.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance remains the big surprise. With Mitsubishi as part of the group, the Alliance disturbs the perennial duel between pet enemies Toyota and Volkswagen.  Up 12.5% in May, and 8.4% year-to-date, the Alliance has the strongest growth of all three contenders.

In recent weeks, Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn repeatedly announced his goal to become the world’s largest automaker by mid-year 2017. Most recently, Ghosn said this at Nissan’s annual shareholder conference in Yokohama, after making the same statement at the Renault AGM in Paris.  Looking at the data, this goal is quite achievable. If Toyota and the Alliance would maintain their current trajectory, both would end the year with 10.5 million units to their names.

This is made even more remarkable by the fact that the Alliance lacks heavy trucks and buses. The World’s Largest Automaker will be crowned on an all vehicle basis, including heavy commercial vehicles. Toyota has Hino, Volkswagen has MAN and Scania, along with Volkswagen Commercial. Renault Truck  has been sold to Volvo Group in 2001. UD Trucks, formerly owned by Nissan, became a part of Volvo Group in 2007.

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