VW passes Toyota

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Volkswagen has become the world’s top-selling automotive company at the halfway mark of this year.

VW has achieved this milestone counting the sales in the VW group which includes Volkswagen itself, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, and Seat with over five million vehicles delivered to customers from January to June, while Toyota – which also includes Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino – has also posted a result of five million vehicle sales over the same period.

Volkswagen AG global sales chief Christian Klingler described the group’s result as “satisfactory” given the difficult market conditions experienced in the first half, with a recovery in Europe only partly offsetting “tense” developments in South America, Russia and, particularly, China, “where growth on the overall market has been shrinking steadily since the beginning of this year and became negative in June for the first time in several years”.

Volkswagen Group chairman of the board of management Martin Winterkorn said deliveries to customers in the second half should remain on a level with the previous year, despite a “persistently challenging market environment”.

“We are keeping a very close watch on global macroeconomic trends, especially where there are uncertainties such as in the Chinese, Brazilian and Russian markets,” Dr Winterkorn said.

The group’s luxury brands, particularly Audi and Porsche, continue to be key factors bolstering Volkswagen’s strong balance sheet, with Audi’s operating profit up 7.4 percent to €2.9 billion and Porsche up 21 percent to €1.7 billion.

However, I can’t see Toyota just lying down and capitulating to the VW onslaught, and expect a big push towards the end of the year. Anyone for a new Fortuner?