VW says GM is not the top automaker

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Volkswagen challenges GM for world domination. Image: LivingOS/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Car Deal Expert reported Thursday that GM had once again overtaken Toyota as the world’s largest automaker. However, Volkswagen is crying foul, saying its numbers are not all in, and that it intends to steal the crown for itself.

GM top dog for nearly 80 years

GM held the top annual spot for vehicles sold for nearly 80 years, until it was unseated by Toyota in 2008. But Thursday GM announced that it had sold more than 9 million units in 2011 and become number one again. By Friday, however, Volkswagen was asking for a recount.

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Volkswagen says ‘count again.’

According to the Wall Street Journal, Volkswagen says it will be adding another 200,000 units to its total when figures come in from the truck makers MAN SE and Scania AB in a few weeks. VW owns controlling interest in the companies.

VW also called into contention GM’s inclusion of sales figures from China’s SAIC Motor Corp. and Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co. because GM does not have controlling interest in those companies.

The yearly scuffle

Every year automakers flaunt sales figures and compete for the bragging rights to call itself number one. What to count and what not to count becomes an annual bone of contention.

‘Annoying’ and ‘meaningless’

Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive Consulting, said the yearly battle to determine the largest automaker is:

“Very annoying, and it’s also meaningless. The important thing is whether they are making money.”

VW actively seeks crown

Volkswagen seems hell-bent on claiming the crown of late. Over the fall sales season, the German automaker has reiterated its intention to sell 10 million cars by 2018 and become the world’s largest car maker.

GM’s Jim McCain, possibly in response to VW’s well-publicized bid for world leadership, said:

“Our goal is to be the best, not necessarily the biggest. If we had announced plans on world domination, we probably would have been quibbling with the sales of our competitors, and that’s as far removed from focusing on the customers as you can get.”


Wall Street Journal
Motor Trend

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