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Last year, many manufacturers had production and delivery issues due to different global industry disruptions. Some of them managed the crisis better, which gave them an advantage over their competitors. It seems that Toyota got all the little details right and this helped the Japanese automaker retain its global sales crown in 2021. 

Toyota has just announced its results for last year and they are pretty impressive given the current chip shortage situation. The manufacturer managed to deliver a total of 10,495,548 vehicles globally last year, comfortably beating Volkswagen Group with its 9,305,000 sales from all brands. These numbers represent a healthy 10.1-percent increase for Toyota, while VAG saw a 4.5-percent drop in its deliveries.

In an official press release, Toyota explains “the effects of the spread of COVID-19 were less severe than in 2020,” which allowed the company to significantly increase its production and sales last year. However, at this point, it is difficult for the automotive industry to forecast how the parts supply trends will develop during the next 12 months. 

Volkswagen Group, in turn, emphasized the number of electric vehicles it delivered last year. Through all its brands, VAG nearly doubled its BEV deliveries year-on-year to 452,900 units, which represents a 5.1-percent share of the German conglomerate’s total deliveries last year.

Gallery: 2022 Toyota GRMN Yaris

It is probably too early to give Toyota the crown for the world's largest automaker by the number of cars sold in 2021, though, as there are no final and full numbers from General Motors and Stellantis yet. Seeing how Toyota beat GM in the United States for the first time in nine decades, however, probably signals the way things are on a global level.

Stellantis sales in the US were also down last year by 2 percent to about 1.8 million vehicles, which probably means Toyota’s leadership is safe. However, we will wait for the full numbers from GM and Stellantis until we can make a final conclusion.

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