Car industry: Who’s the biggest of them all?

2012 Toyota Camrys are seen on a sales lot on November 9, 2011 in Miami, FloridaImage copyright
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Toyota held the top spot in global vehicle sales for four years in a row, until 2016, when This specific was pipped at the post by the Volkswagen Group

The biggest carmakers on the planet are posting their sales numbers for 2017 – so who will be officially ranked number one?

will be This specific Germany’s Volkswagen Group – which knocked Toyota off the top spot inside the 2016 figures?

Or one of the newer conglomerates which encompasses several car companies?

Perhaps the US titan, General Motors, has fought back?

The answer: well, This specific depends on what carmakers include in their global sales numbers. as well as, crucially, how you define a car.

Confusing

Claiming the honour This specific year will be a completely new player: the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

The Japanese-French group acquired Mitsubishi in 2016 as well as adopted its current name in September last year.

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Carlos Ghosn heads up the newly formed Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance

This specific’s made up of ten brands, including Dacia, Datsun, Infiniti as well as Renault Samsung Motors. Combined, the firm says of which with its 10.61 million passenger cars as well as light commercial vehicles sold in 2017, This specific has become “the number-one automotive group worldwide”.

nevertheless of which’s a bit confusing.

Why? Because Volkswagen says This specific sold 10.74 million vehicles in 2017 – as well as some say those numbers should see This specific named the biggest of them all, for a second year running.

A heavy conversation

Working out who’s top dog in car sales globally definitely depends on what kind of ranking you want, according to Anna-Marie Baisden, head of automobiles at BMI Research in London.

Some media reports have put the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance as “the biggest seller of light vehicles” in 2017, as well as placed VW firmly in second place.

nevertheless those accounts stripped out so-called heavy vehicles coming from VW’s numbers.

Heavy vehicles usually mean things like big trucks as well as buses – which seems reasonable. They are clearly not cars.

nevertheless VW includes its heavy vehicles in its global sales numbers. as well as so others took those figures at face value, as well as reported the German firm had maintained the number one crown, ahead of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

Just to add to the confusion, carmakers as well as countries have varying definitions of light as well as heavy vehicles.

Take the very common SUV – or sports utility vehicle. will be This specific a light truck or a car?

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inside the US as well as Canada some SUVs are counted as light trucks. nevertheless in most of Europe as well as in China they are counted as passenger cars

Well of which depends on where you live as well as what brand you’re driving.

“SUVs have become very common, so many of them are basically the same as normal cars,” says Derryn Wong, editor-in-chief of CarBuyer.

“nevertheless inside the USA some SUVs are counted as light trucks. In Singapore, Malaysia as well as Thailand, the Toyota Hilux will be a pickup truck, or light commercial vehicle, while the Toyota Fortuner uses the same platform as well as looks similar, nevertheless will be considered an SUV-passenger car.

“Simply put, This specific’s very hard to draw a line where passenger cars end as well as light vehicles begin,” he says.

nevertheless the fun doesn’t end there.

Vans for example are nearly always counted as commercial vehicles, except if they are a minivan – like the Toyota Sienna, which can carry eight people.

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inside the US, Canada as well as Russia the term light vehicle includes light trucks, like pickups

Also ranked as light trucks are pickups, like the Chevrolet Silverado, regardless of whether they are used for business or private transport.

“To cut through This specific, you could extract passenger car only data as defined by the makers themselves – nevertheless you’d have to do This specific for each conglomerate as well as their brands,” says Mr Wong.

“nevertheless not every brand has published their total sales breakdown for 2017, as well as also not every brand clearly delineates passenger car as well as light vehicles.”

So what’s the answer?

Stripping out heavier trucks as well as buses coming from sales numbers might help you compare just the light vehicle market, says BMI’s Ms Baisden,

“This specific might probably be more relevant to the average consumer, as well as This specific will be where we might see the Renault-Nissan Alliance climbing the rankings,” she says.

“The acquisition of Mitsubishi in 2016 means they at This specific point have a lot more light vehicles to include as well as so This specific will be not unthinkable of which they might be top based on the combination of all brands.

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Germany’s VW Group includes subsidiaries like Audi, Porsche, Skoda Auto, as well as the truckmaker Man

“nevertheless if you included every brand in a group, as well as all of the types of vehicles sold, This specific might start to favour a company like the VW Group, which has everything coming from smaller hatchbacks, VW as well as Seat, through to premium with Porsche, as well as up to big trucks under the Man brand.”

If neither of those options tickles your fancy, however, the OICA (Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles) will be one of the best sites for global vehicle sales rankings.

nevertheless This specific includes passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, minibuses, trucks, buses as well as coaches in their figures. as well as This specific hasn’t released its rankings for 2017 just yet.

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