Volkswagen grabs world top carmaker slot but Toyota begins fightback

Three top car consultancies are predicting that Volkswagen will grab the global top carmaker slot this year with one, JD Power, predicting VW sales of 7.8m vehicles (10.5 per cent) followed by General Motors with 7.2m, Renault and Nissan with combined sales of 6.8m and long-term market leader Toyota fourth with 6.7m.

VW sold a record 4m vehicles across its various platforms, which include VW, Audi, Skoda, Bentley and Seat, in the first half of 2011.

Japanese giant Toyota has been hammered by supply chain problems following the tsunami in Japan and also a series of safety-based recalls in the US.

However the company is restoring its supply chain and Japanese exports, of which cars account for the biggest component, surged 2.4 per cent in September according to Bloomberg.

VW saw its sales grow by a surprising eight per cent in Europe in the first half of 2011 and is also now the market leader in the booming Chinese market. One of the key elements in its success is the success of the luxury Audi brand which is now neck and neck with BMW in important markets like the UK. It has also upped its game in the US where it has been helped by a series of popular campaigns from ad agency Deutsch.

Audi, though, still lags in the US where BMW and Mercedes are vying to take over from No 1 luxury brand Toyota-owned Lexus which has also been hit by supply problems.

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