For a while at least, Volkswagen got a taste of what it's like to be No. 1 in global vehicle sales. Yet it was a flash in the pan because VW has little hope of climbing back on top anytime soon.
VW led last year's leader, Toyota Motor Corp., through the first six months of 2015. But last week, Toyota said it sold 7.49 million vehicles through September, topping the 7.43 million that VW reported earlier, Bloomberg said.
Deliveries declined 1.5 percent for both companies.
The results include less than two weeks of sales reporting by Volkswagen after its admission to rigging diesel engines with software that deceived regulators about pollution levels.
And the German company now is readying repairs to 11 million vehicles worldwide and has stopped sales of diesel models in several markets as it brings engines into compliance.
VW also is facing a slowdown in demand in China, its largest market, with its namesake brand declining 7.4 percent in the first nine months.
"Toyota will be the No. 1 for this year," said Koji Endo, analyst at Advanced Research Japan. "VW may be facing sales difficulties due to the scandal toward next year in Europe and the U.S., and I don't see the Chinese market coming back anytime soon."