Ford may claim the title of having the best-selling vehicle in the US, though that's just one model in one market. The automotive industry is global, and the battle between the world's largest, best-selling automakers took a turn in 2020. Automotive News is reporting that Toyota has reclaimed the title of the world's best-selling brand, usurping VW Group from a spot it's held for the last five years.
The coronavirus pandemic has indeed upended a year that many had predicted would have been gangbusters for automakers. However, the emergence of the virus had dealerships and factories closing to help slow the virus' spread. That saw automakers take massive hits, including VW and Toyota, though it affected one more than the other. Volkswagen Group sales, which include Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and more, fell 15 percent to 9.31 million cars sold, while Toyota's only toppled by 11 percent. The Japanese automaker was still able to sell some 9.53 million vehicles last year despite the virus.
In 2019, VW held a slight lead over Toyota – 10.97 million to 10.75 million – and the German conglomerate is expected to reclaim the best-selling automaker title again in 2021. However, it could be a short-lived success. Automotive News' report notes that IHS Markit research shows Toyota pulling ahead in global car sales through the decade's midway point as overall global sales are expected to continue growing. Maybe Toyota will build on this year's surprise sales success – the Supra, which was the only Toyota model in the US to see sales increase.
Both VW Group and Toyota have announced plans to design, develop, and produce a litany of new all-electric and electrified vehicles; however, publicly, VW seems a bit more ambitious about the move than Toyota. VW's aggressive push into EVs has the company promising to offer 75 purely electric vehicles by 2029. The company also plans to sell some 60 hybrids alongside its EVs.