Volkswagen's third-quarter financial results revealed the automaker produced 4.4 million vehicles during the first nine months of the year - trumping Toyot's 4.2 million units. However, VW's production total includes joint-ventures in which it doesn't own a majority share, making its final figure artificially high. VW doesn't break down its sales by affiliates, so judging how many cars the German automaker has actually produced remains impossible.
Toyota, on the other hand, has legitimately produced 4.2 million vehicles this year, easily making it the world's largest automaker. Adding Toyot's affiliates to the mix puts the company at 4.9 million units produced, according to Automotive News.
Toyota will likely hold on to its lead for the foreseeable future due European scrappage laws set to expire next year. Volkswagen's sales have been bolstered by incentives programs, with a drop off in sales expected after the programs expire.