Volkswagen Was No. 1 in Global Sales Despite ‘Dieselgate’ Scandal

Despite intensive scrutiny over the diesel emissions-cheating scandal, Volkswagen AG took the top-selling global automaker spot away from Toyota Motor Corp. in the first six months of this year.

Volkswagen said on Wednesday it delivered 5.116 million vehicles in that time period, a 1.5-percent rise over the first half of 2015. Toyota announced that its global sales of 4.992 units slid 0.6 percent during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.

Toyota had been the top seller for years through 2015, but took a production hit in Japan after an earthquake in April damaged a plant operated by a key supplier. That halted production at many of its lines across the country for weeks. In February, production at domestic assembly plants were stopped after an explosion at one of the automaker’s steel suppliers led to a shortage of parts.

Volkswagen has been feeling the effects of the “dieselgate” scandal since it became public in September, but its other brands have picked up some of the slack. Sales of VW models have suffered, but have been offset by strong demand for luxury and Porsche models as well as for the Czech brand Skoda.

VW anticipates that its full-year sales will come in slightly higher than last year’s 9.93 million vehicle deliveries. Demand in China and Western Europe has been outweighing declines seen in the Americas and Russia.

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VW has also been attempting to offset its tarnished image and a multitude of lawsuits by offering incentives in the U.S. and other markets. Consumers are being encouraged to consider VW’s electrified vehicle offerings and newly created on-demand mobility services.

General Motors came in third in global sales during that time period. With six-month sales of 4.76 million new vehicles, GM was down 1.2 percent from a year earlier.