VW overtakes Toyota’s global sales

Volkswagen overtook Toyota as the world’s largest carmaker in terms of sales in the first half year, achieving its long-held ambition three years ahead of target.

But remaining on top will be a challenge for the German maker of the Golf and Polo, as deliveries are falling in China, the destination of a third of its global sales, making it overly reliant on relatively stagnant western European demand.

VW has been pushing for greater scale under chief executive Martin Winterkorn, pushed by adding brands and factories and rising sales in China.

The German group on 17 July reported 5.04 million deliveries in the first half year. By comparison, Toyota said on Tuesday it sold 5.02 million cars between January and June, a 1.5 percent decline on levels taken one year ago.

Toyota, due to announce first-half earnings next Tuesday, said sales were dragged down by a slowdown in emerging markets and increased taxes on mini vehicles in Japan.