Volkswagen was the world's top car seller in 2016 despite the emissions-cheating scandal that emerged in September 2015
Volkswagen was the world’s top car seller in 2016 despite the emissions-cheating scandal that emerged in September 2015 (AFP Photo/RONNY HARTMANN)

Toyota lost its crown as the world’s top-selling automaker in 2016, company figures showed Monday, with the Japanese giant overtaken by Volkswagen as the industry prepares for an uncertain trade environment under Donald Trump.

The German automaker moved back into the top spot despite being hit by a massive emissions cheating scandal that rocked its reputation.

The carmaker, once a paragon of German industry, was plunged into its deepest-ever crisis after it emerged in September 2015 that it installed emissions-cheating software in millions of diesel engines worldwide.

However, the crisis seemed to have little effect on the firm’s standing with drivers as it announced this month that annual sales rose 3.8 percent in 2016.

The results were boosted by strong performance in China which helped push total sales to 10.3 million, after slipping to 9.93 in 2015. VW group also includes the brands Audi, Porsche and Skoda.

On Monday Toyota said it sold 10.175 million vehicles worldwide last year, a 0.2 percent…