Japanese automaker Toyota Motor overtook Germany’s Volkswagen in vehicle sales last year, regaining pole position as the world’s best selling automaker for the first time in five years as the coronavirus crisis led slump hit its German rival harder.
Toyota said on Thursday its group-wide global sales dropped11.3% to 9.528 million vehicles in 2020. That compared with a 15.2 percent decline at Volkswagen to 9.305 million vehicles.
Automakers had a hard time in 2020 as coronavirus lockdowns have stopped people from visiting car showrooms and forced manufacturing factories to decrease or halt production.
Toyota, however, has weathered the pandemic better in part as its home market Japan, and the Asian region in general, have been less affected by the outbreak compared to Europe and the United States.
“Our focus is not on what our ranking may be, but on serving our customers” a Toyota spokeswoman said.
As demand for cars makes recovery, particularly in China, Toyota, Volkswagen and other manufacturers are scrambling to tap increasing demand for electric cars. Toyota said that the ratio of electric vehicles it sold last year increased to 23% of total sales from 20% in 2019.