Volkswagen currently undergoing a takeover by Porsche has outperformed Ford in global sales. Not only that, but it has also overtaken Toyota as the most valuable company* in the auto industry with market capitalization of $127.5 billion.
Now comes Porsche, which sold less then 100,000 cars last year and buys them. What else is new? The auto industry never ceases to throw suprises our way.
Toyota Motor Corp. fell to the lowest in more than four years in Tokyo, losing its spot as the world’s largest automaker by value to Volkswagen AG amid rising concerns that global growth is slowing following the collapse of the U.S. mortgage market.More...
Toyota declined 4.9 percent to 3,710 yen, the lowest since March 2004, at the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, giving it a giving it a market capitalization of $124.3 billion. Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen’s value was $127.5 billion at today’s exchange rate.
Toyota’s sales in the U.S., the world’s largest auto market, have plunged this year as higher fuel costs have cut demand for Tundra pickups and Sequoia sport-utility vehicles. Volkswagen’s shares have gained 87 percent this year as Porsche SE bid for a majority stake and hedge funds that had bet on the shares falling were forced to close their positions.
“The auto industry is in a difficult situation right now,” said Edwin Merner, president of Atlantis Investment Research Corp. in Tokyo, whose parent company manages about $3.1 billion. “Toyota is well positioned to survive, but it will suffer like all the others.”
Toyota has fallen 56 percent since its peak at 8,340 yen in February 2007. By contrast, Volkswagen rose to all-time high at 304 euros on Sept. 18.
Industrywide sales of cars and light trucks in the U.S. fell for the 11th month in a row, the longest slide in 17 years, as the financial crisis caused lenders to toughen loan standards and consumers curbed spending.
U.S. sales at Toyota plummeted 32 percent in September, the biggest such decline since 1987. Toyota is halting production of Tundras and Sequoias for three months from August. The carmaker reduced its North American sales forecast for 2009 to 2.7 million vehicles from 3 million, it said on Aug. 28.
“Toyota is a global player,” said Atlantis’ Merner. “It should come out stronger than ever with a higher market share.”
About 15 percent of Volkswagen’s common shares as of last month were shorted, or borrowed and sold on expectations they can be repurchased later at a lower price, according to London- based research firm Data Explorers. That was the most in Germany’s 30-stock DAX Index.
Traders who shorted the shares on expectations they would decline were forced to close their positions, according to three people in the securities-lending business who declined to be identified.