General Motors reclaims spot as best selling global car maker

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Chevy Cruze

General Motors has become the world's best selling car maker, largely thanks to Chevrolet. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Several years ago, the Toyota Motor Corporation unseated General Motors as the best-selling car maker worldwide. Now, General Motors has reclaimed its throne after global sales in 2011 put GM back on top.

From zero to hero

General Motors, according to the Washington Post, was the top-selling car maker on the planet for more than 70 years until 2008, when the company’s global sales dipped below Toyota’s. The next year, GM filed for bankruptcy and took bailout loans from the American and Canadian governments.

As of the end of 2011, GM has been back to profitability for some time and is paying off the loans from Uncle Sam. According to Bloomberg, the federal government still owns about one-third of GM’s stock. However, there has been something of a return on the investment, as GM has reclaimed the title of the world’s best-selling car maker.

Wuling questioned

General Motors reported that its global sales in 2011 rose by 7.6 percent from 2010. GM delivered 8.39 million vehicles in 2010. The company made 9.03 million deliveries in 2011, an increase of about 640,000 more cars.

GM outsold Toyota by more than 1 million cars, as the Toyota Motor Corporation sold an estimated 7.9 million vehicles last year. Volkswagen AG also breezed past Toyota, having sold 8.16 million vehicles in 2011, a 14 percent increase over 2010. Volkswagen is currently trying to assume the top spot.

However, a quibble has emerged. General Motors’ sales figures include sales from Wuling, a car company which is a joint venture between GM and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, according to MarketWatch. Though GM only owns one-third of the company, it includes Wuling sales in its own figures. Wuling Motors sold about 1.19 million units.

Chevy still the driving force

Chevrolet is by far the best-selling brand under the GM banner; 4.76 million of the 9.03 million cars sold by General Motors were Chevrolets.

Ford, the next largest American automaker, managed global sales of 5.3 million last year, according to the Los Angeles Times. Though GM may hold the top spot for now, Toyota and Volkswagen are going to be trying to unseat it. Toyota’s factories are recovering from environmental damage and Volkswagen’s stated intent is to become the world’s biggest car company by 2018.

Sources

Washington Post

Bloomberg

MarketWatch

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-gm-global-sales-20120119,0,4294360.story


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