VW Beats Toyota as World’s Biggest Automaker

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Volkswagen AG clinched the top spot in global auto sales for the first half of 2015 by selling 5.04 million vehicles, enough to overtake long-time standout Toyota Motor Corp.

Toyota sold 5.02 million vehicles, a decrease of 1.5 percent, in the first six months of the year. In a statement Tuesday, the company said production in Japan decreased, and sales in the automaker’s home country were down for the first time in two years. Exports to Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East also decreased.

General Motors Co. came in third, with 4.86 million vehicles sold, down 1.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

VW said earlier this month that sales grew in the European market, with a total of 2.11 million vehicles sold. Sales in North America rose 6 percent to 451,200 cars, 295,000 of which were in the U.S.

Sales in China, VW’s largest single market, decreased by 3.9 percent to 1.74 million vehicles.

Last year, Toyota narrowly edged out VW as the world’s largest automaker for the third consecutive year. In 2014, Toyota sold 10.23 million vehicles compared to VW’s 10.14 million.