- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Beetle is boss as Volkswagen bested Toyota and General Motors in international sales for the first six months of 2015, according to new figures released Tuesday.

Volkswagen, who also manufactures the Jetta and has ownership over the Porsche and Bugatti luxury cars, surpassed its primary competitors to claim the top spot in global vehicle sales for January through June. This is the first time the German automaker has claimed the No.1 ranking for so long a period.

The three companies have often gone head to head in the intensely competitive market. While Volkswagen has always close to the front, either General Motors or Toyota has always come out on top at the end of the fiscal year.

GM was the world’s top car seller for seven decades, losing its crown to Toyota in 2008, before retaking it in 2011 while Japan was reeling from an earthquake and tsunami. Toyota returned to the front of the pack in 2012, maintaining that position through 2014 when the company sold 10.14 million vehicles.

But Toyota has faced difficulties this year in a slowing Japanese market. Total vehicle sales for Toyota has dropped 1.5 percent, in the January to June period.

As of this month, Volkswagen has sold 5.04 million cars, besting Toyota’s 5.02 million and GM’s 4.86 million. All three companies sold fewer cars during the last six months than they did this time last year, although Volkswagen’s numbers have held up the best.

Toyota and GM still have half a year to overtake Volkswagen’s slim lead. It remains to be seen whether or not the little punch-buggy will remain in first place when the dust settles in December.

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