General Motors announced today that it sold 9,369,524 vehicles worldwide in 2007, which puts it in a dead heat with Toyota for the title of world's best-selling automaker. Toyota had already revealed that it sold 9.37 million vehicles last year, but did not reveal its global sales figure down to the last car. Because of this, no one knows if the Japanese automaker rounded up and actually sold less units globally than GM.
GM should be pleased that its global sales rose 3% in 2007, and whether or not it beat Toyota is of little consequence. There is no international organization that officially recognizes the world's biggest automaker with a trophy and a tag line for commercials, so who cares? The only thing at risk is pride, perhaps some moral and the tradition of GM being the world's biggest automaker for the past 76 years - all things that are either recoverable or not absolutely essential to the business of selling cars.
Both automakers did extremely well last year, though General Motors relied on Europe, China and emerging markets like Latin America, Africa and the Middle East to carry the load since its turnaround plan in the U.S. has yet to yield any sales growth. Toyota, meanwhile, performed well in pretty much every market in which it competed, including the U.S. where its sales grew by 2.7% in a very tough year.
Same time, same place next year? We'll see you then.
UPDATE: Automotive News reports that Toyota is expected to release a more detailed figure for its 2007 global sales later this month, so it looks like we may have a clear winner after all.
[Source: General Motors, mlive.com]