Toyota has fallen to 3rd place in global sales, leaving GM in 1st and VW in 2nd.
General Motors has been trying to gain leverage against Toyota as the world's top automaker for quite some time now, and according to the sales numbers released by both companies in 2011, GM has jumped Toyota for the top spot. Though GM can point to the popularity of some of their new models as the reason for the increase in number of sales, this swing is probably more reflective of Toyota failing to maintain production capacity due to the several natural disasters that have rocked Japan.
The Japanese automaker had to contend with the earthquake and tsunami that damaged much of Japan's infrastructure as well as causing tens of thousands of deaths. Toyota saw a 23 percent decrease in production in the first half of 2011 alone. GM sold over 4.5 million vehicles through June 30, 2011, which is an 8.9 percent increase in sales from last year's first half. Toyota, in comparison, was only able to sell just over 3.7 million units. Toyota is actually dwelling in third place at the moment, as new rivals Volkswagen have sold over 4.1 million units this year.
"Even if Toyota recovers production, it will take another few more months for sales to actually recover, as it takes time to deliver vehicles to dealers. Toyota's sales may trail behind Volkswagen in the full year as well," commented Takeshi Miyao, an analyst from Carnorama in Tokyo. Toyota will launch a production recovery phase in September of this year so we will see if the Japanese automaker can recover the coveted place of top automaker in the world.