Toyota’s 2020 Forecast Nudges It Closer to Volkswagen

The front of a Hino truck, a Toyota subsidiary. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

Toyota Motor Corp. is forecasting sales of 10.77 million vehicles worldwide during 2020, nudging it closer to No. 1 automaker Volkswagen AG.

Toyota’s outlook, which includes vehicles sold by subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co. and truck maker Hino Motors Ltd., shows slight growth from an estimated 10.72 million vehicles this year. Volkswagen sold 10.8 million units in 2018 and said in October it expects deliveries to be little changed this year.

Automakers are fighting to sell cars in a difficult environment, with tepid economic growth worldwide and trade tensions forcing them to cut profitability outlooks and slash more than 80,000 jobs. At the same time, they are seeking new growth by investing in a once-in-a-generation industry shift toward electric vehicles, self-driving technologies and ride-on-demand business models.

The maker of Prius hybrids and Tacoma trucks is among the automakers that are still delivering better-than-anticipated results. Even so, Toyota forecasts that it will sell 4% fewer vehicles in Japan next year, or 2.26 million units.

As electric motors, autonomous capabilities and new mobility services disrupt the industry, Toyota has been forging alliances, adding Suzuki Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Subaru Corp. through partnerships and equity stakes. Alliances are becoming more critical in the global auto industry as manufacturers seek to pool resources and save costs. Ford has teamed up with Volkswagen, while Honda Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are working together.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing: