GM falls behind Toyota in annual global sales


Toyota sold more cars and trucks last year than GM, stripping the automaker of the # 1 global sales spot for the first time in 78 years. GM announced it sold 8,355,947 cars and trucks globally in 2008, falling about 616,000 vehicles short of the 8.972 million Toyota announced this week.

GM, which posted an 11% drop in global sales for the year, blamed the decline on the steep drop in vehicle demand in its key North American and European markets. North American sales dropped 21% for the year. GM Europe sales fell 6.5%, including a 21% plunge in the fourth quarter, reported The AP.

Toyota’s sales fell 4% for the year, marking that automaker’s first global sales decline in 10 years. Toyota’s move into the top sales spot wasn’t a huge surprise. The automaker nearly topped GM in 2007, selling only about 3,000 less vehicles than the U.S. company did that year.

GM COO Fritz Henderson told the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit Tuesday night that it’s not a big deal if GM is passed by Toyota as the global sales leader: “To me the most important thing to make GM successful…any time spent on worrying about being passed by Toyota is time wasted.”