Volkswagen Group’s deliveries rose 0.9% to a record 10.83 million last year, according to the German company, putting it neck-and-neck with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi in the race to be the world’s biggest vehicle manufacturer.
Rivals Toyota Motor and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi have not released 2018 registration figures, but the Franco-Japanese alliance sold 10.6 million vehicles in 2017 and racked up sales of 5.54 million in the first half of 2018. Last month, Toyota released a forecast for total global sales of 10.55 million for the last year, but has yet to confirm official numbers.
“If we assume that the 10.8 million sales VW have reported is confirmed, it is very likely to be enough to place Volkswagen Group in the number one spot,” said David Oakley, an analyst at LMC Automotive.
Volkswagen Group’s figure include sales of light vehicles and trucks. Measured by passenger cars alone, registration last year would have accounted for 10.1 million.
“If we looked at passenger cars only, the picture would be roughly similar. Volkswagen Group would still be ahead, although by a wider margin, as it is relatively less reliant on light commercial vehicles than the other two,” Oakley said.
Volkswagen said the VW brand delivered 6.24 million vehicles last year, while premium brands Audi and Porsche posted registrations of 1.81 million and 256,000 respectively. This makes Audi the third biggest selling premium brand behind BMW, which delivered 2,125,026 cars and leader Mercedes-Benz, which sold 2.31 million passenger cars.
Volkswagen said the ongoing trade dispute with the United States had dampened the business climate in China, its most important market, over the second half of 2018.
Volkswagen’s Head of Sales, Christian Dahlheim, said in a webcast on Friday that he expected demand in China to remain stable in 2019, although the first quarter would be challenging.
Separately, Dahlheim said the German carmaker did not foresee a significant financial impact in 2019 from the implementation of the new WLTP emissions standard, which cost the Company EUR 1 Billion (USD 1.2 Billion) in 2018.
Volkswagen Group said December deliveries fell 8.4%, to 916,200 vehicles, from 999,900 a year earlier.
December group deliveries to China dropped by 12.5% year-on-year, the Wolsburg-based carmaker said, adding deliveries also fell by 5.6% in Europe and by 3.4% in the United States.