Amid a lasting emissions cheating scandal, Volkswagen lost the No. 1 spot in global auto sales to Toyota, reported Bloomberg Monday. Toyota sold 7.49 million vehicles through September, topping the 7.43 million Volkswagen reported earlier this month.
Just a few months ago, Volkswagen had overtaken Toyota as the top automaker in the world through the first half of the year, selling some 5.04 million vehicles. VW's emissions scandal emerged near the end of September, when the company admitted to rigging emissions tests in the United States and Europe. It has since been reported that regulators had long raised concerns about the issue and some 11 million of the automakers diesel vehicles could have been affected.
Volkswagen's sales reports included less than two weeks of post-scandal results. Declining sales in China, coupled with repairs to the affected vehicles and halted sales on many diesel vehicles, could cause a continued struggle for Volkswagen.
"Toyota will be the No. 1 for this year,” Koji Endo, an auto analyst at Advanced Research Japan, said to Bloomberg. “VW may be facing sales difficulties due to the scandal toward next year in Europe and the U.S., and I don’t see the Chinese market coming back anytime soon.”
Perhaps in an effort to help right the ship, the German automaker announced Monday it had hired Dr. Thomas Sedran as its new head of group strategy. Sedran, who will start Nov. 1, previously served as interim CEO at German automaker Opel in 2012-2013 and was head of General Motors' Chevrolet and Cadillac brands in Europe earlier this year. Volkswagen added another major hire recently when it poached compliance manager Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt from Daimler in mid-October.
Former CEO Martin Winterkorn, who resigned after the scandal, had pushed for the company to surpass Toyota and General Motors in global sales by 2018. Toyota took the top spot from GM in 2008 and held it every year since except 2011, when the Japanese automaker had production interrupted by a tsunami, according to the BBC.