It was an impressive showing from the Japanese giant.
Most of us know that 2021 was by no means an easy year for the automotive industry. Continued challenges stemming from the pandemic, along with the havoc created by the semiconductor chip shortage, made it difficult for even some of the most successful automakers to meet their goals. Toyota was not immune, with production stalling for models like the RAV4 and Lexus RX. The company has now released its sales, production, and export results for December 2021 and 2021 as a whole. Despite many challenges, Toyota managed to retain its global sales crown and, by so doing, kept Volkswagen at bay.
Toyota's worldwide sales for 2021 finished on 10.496 million vehicles, an increase of 10.1 percent. That tally includes sales from the Daihatsu and Hino brands. Even without those, Toyota's global sales increased by 10.6% over the course of last year. By comparison, Volkswagen saw a 4.5% decrease and sold 8.882 million vehicles in 2021. Part of Toyota's ability to evade serious production delays was by stockpiling chips earlier in the year. In the United States, Toyota moved ahead of General Motors, making this the first time in nine decades that GM didn't lead the list of best-selling automakers in the US.
"Being number one has never been Toyota's focus, and we see our sales performance as the collective result of each individual customer's decision to support our brands," said spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto. "Our company's goal is to be the best brand for safety and quality."
In terms of electric vehicles, Volkswagen was still comfortably ahead of Toyota with 453,000 examples sold, far outperforming Toyota's 14,407. That said, Toyota has been slower to electrify its lineup. With new EVs like the competitive and stylish bZ4X here, we expect a very different picture a year from now.