Since 2016, Toyota played second fiddle to the Volkswagen Auto Group (VAG) in the global automotive sales race. Japan's largest automaker was usually a few hundred thousand units behind the German giant. However, it's VAG that has remained the top dog for quite some time now.
Now, Toyota snapped Volkswagen's streak in 2020. Yes, the Big T isn't just Japan's biggest automaker; they're also on top of the world. Last year, they sold 9,528,438 vehicles, which is 10.5% lower than 2019's numbers. Still, it was enough for them to reclaim the top spot they lost to VAG in 2016. This figure also includes all models from Lexus, Hino, and Daihatsu. Considering they have much fewer brands than VAG, it's an impressive feat.
But how did the Volkswagen Auto Group fare compared to Toyota? In 2020, the entire group sold 9,305,400 vehicles worldwide. That's a difference of 223,038 units. According to the company's sales sheets, Volkswagen, Skoda, and Audi were the top-selling brands for VAG. Other brands part of VAG includes SEAT, Porsche, VW Commercial Vehicles, MAN, Scania, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. The sales figures for 2020 represents a 15.2 decrease over 2019 sales.
Despite the struggles, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance finished in third with a combined tally of approximately 7.8 million vehicles. Nissan contributed the most to the total, with 4,029,166 sold over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, Renault managed to shift 2,949,849 units worldwide. Mitsubishi rolled out 854,091 vehicles last year, making it the first time in 11 years since sales dipped below one million units.
All in all, the top three automakers make up approximately 26.6 million units in worldwide sales. Are we expecting a combined total of 28 million from the three by the end of 2021? It's too early to call right now, but automakers are optimistic that they can bounce back from a rough 2020.