Volkswagen AG said it topped rival General Motors Co. for second place among all automakers, selling 9.73 million vehicles in 2013. )
Volkswagen AG said Thursday it topped rival General Motors Co. for second place in global sales among all automakers. VW said it sold 9.73 million cars and trucks in 2013, compared to GM’s 9.71 million.
The German automaker’s tally includes heavy-duty truck sales from its MAN SE and Scania AB units, so some still say GM is the second-best selling automaker among light-duty vehicles.
Toyota Motor Corp. sold 9.98 million vehicles in 2013, retaining the title as the world’s largest automaker for a second straight year. Its tally includes sales from its Hino Motors and Daihatsu units.
Toyota was also the top-selling automaker from 2008-10, but GM regained the title in 2011 after Toyota production sank because of natural disasters in Asia. GM was the world’s largest automaker from 1931 through 2007.
Volkswagen vows to be the world’s largest automaker by 2018 and has aggressive plans to grow sales in the United States and elsewhere.
Earlier this month, VW’s new U.S. chief said he thinks the company can meet its German parent’s aggressive goal of 800,000 U.S. vehicle sales by 2018 — and in the long-term needs to go beyond that.
Michael Horn, a longtime VW executive who was named the new chief of VW in the U.S. late last month, told reporters in a roundtable at the North American International Auto Show earlier this month that the brand will grow here.
His boss, VW Group chief Martin Winterkorn, reaffirmed the goal set in 2008 to sell 1 million VW and Audi vehicles in the U.S. by 2018. That would more than triple its sales over a decade. Winterkorn met with U.S. dealers in the Washington, D.C., area last summer to emphasize the company would bring new models to the U.S. market.
“If we get the product, yes, we can meet the goal,” Horn said. “If we want to be really successful, we need to do more than this because to get the economies of scale, to get the engines, the drivetrains being produced here, that’s when you start to get away from the dollar-euro exchange rate issues ... I think it’s a great strategy.”
Some analysts think VW focused too much on cars in recent years and should have done more on SUVs for the U.S. market. VW’s U.S. sales fell 7 percent in 2013.
That came after VW had launched a series of new or refreshed vehicles that led to three straight years of double-digit U.S. growth. In 2012, sales jumped 35 percent with 438,133 sold, marking the company’s best year since 1973.
The automaker had its all-time U.S. peak in 1970, with nearly 570,000 vehicles sold.
In 2011, VW opened an assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., its first U.S. plant since it closed a Pennsylvania factory in 1986. It now assembles in North America more than 72 percent of the vehicles it sells in the United States, and has vowed to boost that tally to at least 75 percent.
VW announced this month it will invest $7 billion in North America over five years, and confirmed it will bring a mid-size SUV to the U.S. market in 2016, but didn’t confirm if it will build it at its Chattanooga plant.
The VW Group has more than a dozen brands across the world including Audi, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche and Seat.