Make us your home page
Instagram

GM on verge of reclaiming global sales title from Toyota

GM vice chairman Tom Stephens holds up the North American International Auto Show Car of the Year trophy awarded to the Chevrolet Volt earlier this month. These days, GM is hiring, producing more vehicles and enjoying a better reputation for quality.

Associated Press

GM vice chairman Tom Stephens holds up the North American International Auto Show Car of the Year trophy awarded to the Chevrolet Volt earlier this month. These days, GM is hiring, producing more vehicles and enjoying a better reputation for quality.

FLINT, Mich. — General Motors has a shot at being No. 1 again.

The resurgent automaker reported Monday that its worldwide sales last year came within 30,000 of beating those of Japanese rival Toyota, which took a big hit because of safety recalls. Now GM is outselling Toyota in fast-growing China, and its U.S. business is bouncing back.

GM is hiring, producing more vehicles and basking in a better reputation for quality. It expects to sell even more cars and trucks this year, putting it within reach of the title of biggest in the world — an honor it held for 76 years before losing it in 2008.

Dana Rouse, a union official at the pickup truck factory in Flint, called overtaking Toyota the Heisman Trophy of the auto business.

"We're going to take Toyota on, and the people in Flint are going to be a part of that," he said.

GM executives say they are focused on keeping customers happy, not on the title. They remember the company's disastrous recent history, when it sold cars at a loss just to hold on to market share.

"Satisfying and retaining our customers and delivering world-class products is pretty much the fundamental business that we're in," GM North America president Mark Reuss said Monday at the factory.

Toyota is still wounded from recalls of more than 10 million vehicles, mainly to fix floor mats and gas pedals that could make cars speed out of control. It was the only major automaker with lower U.S. sales in December, and it's uncertain when sales will recover.

Toyota said it was not concerned about beating GM.

Toyota sold 8.42 million vehicles worldwide in 2010, barely ahead of GM's 8.39 million. GM made an impressive turnaround from 2009, when it was forced to take nearly $50 billion in government help and go through bankruptcy.

GM's global sales grew by a dramatic 12 percent last year, and it turned a $4.2 billion profit in the first nine months of the year. Financial results for the final three months of 2010 aren't in yet, but more profit is expected.

Along the way, GM pulled off an initial public stock offering and added 9,000 U.S. workers. GM's sales in China were so strong that they outpaced U.S. sales for the first time in the company's 102-year history.

On Monday, GM recalled 750 laid-off workers for a third shift at the Flint plant because of demand for heavy-duty pickups. The trucks are used mainly for construction, plowing snow and other work, and the increased demand is a sign of economic recovery.

By the numbers

vehicle sales

8.42M Toyota's

total vehicle sales in 2010

8.39M General Motors' total vehicle sales in 2010

846KToyota's 2010

vehicle sales

in China

2.35M General Motors' 2010 vehicle sales in China

GM on verge of reclaiming global sales title from Toyota 01/24/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New DEP secretary says there's no conflict in political side businesses

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — When Noah Valenstein, the newly appointed head of the Department of Environmental Protection, was applying in April to be the state's top environmental regulator, he left one thing off the application: Companies he started and his wife runs have been paid nearly $1 million by politicians and lobbying …

     Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. He will take the helm on June 5, with a salary of $150,000 per year. [Florida Governor's Office]
  2. New stores coming to Tyrone Square Mall, like Bath & Body Works

    Retail

    Tyrone Square Mall will welcome a half dozen new stores, like Bath & Body Works and MidiCi's The Neapolitan Pizza Company, this summer.

  3. Target Corp. reaches $18.5 million settlement with 47 states over data breach

    Retail

    Target Corp. has agreed to pay Florida $928,963 out of a newly-announced $18.5 million settlement over a huge data breach that occurred in late 2013.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have reached an $18.5 million settlement with Target Corp. to resolve the states' probe into the discounter's massive pre-Christmas data breach in 2013. 
[Associated Press]
  4. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall' bill

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Record rainfall in Los Angeles ultimately may end Tampa Bay's drought of hosting the Super Bowl.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 


Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)