Ranking of motor vehicle manufacturers worldwide - global sales 2020

The Volkswagen Group sold the most cars and trucks in 2019, thus keeping the crown as the leading motor vehicle manufacturer worldwide. The Volkswagen Group delivered some 10.2 million sedans, sport-utility vehicles, and compact cars under its top passenger car brands, as well as almost 734,000 trucks under its three commercial vehicle brands.

Difficult start to 2020

Automakers had a difficult start to 2020, and it is expected that auto production and sales will slump amid the coronavirus outbreak in key markets. Motor vehicle sales in China were already down 80 percent in February 2020, compared with the same month one year earlier. If COVID-19 is contained soon, Toyota could become the leading automaker in 2020 due to Volkswagen's high exposure to the Chinese market.

Do commercial vehicles really count?

While two-wheelers are typically not taken into account when the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer title is awarded, there is an ongoing debate among Volkswagen Group’s competitors in the automotive sector on whether to factor commercial vehicles into the equation, or not. In 2018, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance claimed to be the leading automaker if only cars and light commercial vehicles were to be considered. Much of this alliance’s success has been credited to businessman Carlos Ghosn, and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has been struggling since Ghosn was ousted as chairman of the alliance.

Selling does not always mean winning

The of Volkswagen, Toyota, and to some extent also the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance comes at the expense of General Motors. The long-time vehicle sales leader has not been able to find its way back into the top three list after falling short of its sales goals in China. A statement released by the company in January 2020 reads that General Motors delivered a little over three million vehicles in China. This figure compares to about 3.6 million units in 2018. Furthermore, new business opportunities such as vehicle subscription programs, the launch of electrified vehicle models, and large-scale production of autonomous vehicles will likely form an integral part of a new approach taken by the company.

Leading motor vehicle manufacturers worldwide in 2019 and 2020, based on sales worldwide

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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period

2019 through February 27, 2020

Supplementary notes

* 2020 figures are estimates.
The figures have been rounded.
The values for 2019 were taken from an article published on apnews.com in January 2020.

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