The German carmaker sold 9.73 million cars and trucks last year compared to 9.71 million for ‘The General’, while Toyota’s global sales topped 9.98 million.
Some have questioned the final rankings with regard to light passenger cars, as Volkswagen’s tally includes sales from its MAN and Scania heavy vehicle divisions, while Toyota sales include Hino and Daihatsu vehicles.
Toyota retained its number one spot from 2012, after losing it to GM in 2011 following natural disasters in Asia which crippled production. GM previously held the number one spot from 1931-2007, with Toyota taking over from 2008-2010.
It’s a case of ‘let the battle begin’ for 2014 and beyond, with Toyota hoping to break the 10 million sales-barrier this year while Volkswagen has set its sights on the number one spot by 2018.
Volkswagen’s future plan of attack includes 800,000 sales in the US alone by 2018, revised down from the carmaker’s previous goal of one million sales by 2018, set back in 2008.
Recent sales may have come at the expense of profit-margins for GM and Volkswagen however, with Toyota’s profit in the last quarter of 2013 more than that of GM and Volkswagen combined.
GM was number one in the US last year, while Volkswagen was number one in the emerging and all-important Chinese market.