Ranking of motor vehicle manufacturers worldwide - global sales 2018

The Volkswagen Group sold the most cars and trucks in 2018, thus stealing the crown as the leading motor vehicle manufacturer worldwide. The Volkswagen Group sold a little more than 10 million sedans, sport-utility vehicles, and compact cars under its eight passenger car brands, as well as around 732,700 trucks under its three commercial vehicle brands. In addition to car and truck sales, the group’s motorcycle sales tally came to just over 53,000 units.

Do commercial vehicles really count?

While two-wheelers are typically not taken into account when the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer title is awarded, there is an ongoing debate among Volkswagen Group’s competitors in the automotive sector on whether to factor commercial vehicles into the equation, or not. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance claims to be the leading automaker if only cars and light commercial vehicles are considered.

Selling does not always mean winning

   The somewhat surprising success of this Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi business alliance comes at the expense of General Motors. The long-time vehicle sales leader dropped out of the top three list after falling short of its sales goals in 2018. A statement released by the company in December 2018 reads that General Motors is now intending to shift away from just selling vehicles, and instead, the company sees its future in pursuing an integrated approach to sustainability. New business opportunities such as vehicle subscription programs, the launch of electrified vehicle models, and large-scale production of autonomous vehicles will likely form an integral part of this new approach. It remains to be seen if General Motors will be able to regain the throne after some time of absence, especially since Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi are all well-versed players of the electrification game.

Leading motor vehicle manufacturers worldwide in 2018, based on global sales

Sales in thousand units
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Release date

January 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The figures have been rounded.

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