Did General Motors really manage to sell the most cars in 2011?

Reports suggest that General Motors have regained their title as the largest auto manufacturer in the world. During the year 2011, GM sold 9.03 million units. Exact figures are not all in as yet but it is a clear indication that GM has maintained their position in the auto sector.

Volkswagen sales were at 8.16 million units, an increase of 14.3% as compared to what Volkswagen sold during 2010 which stood at 7.14 million. This has ensured that they are the second most successful auto makers in the world closely followed by Toyota Motors who registered sales for the previous year at 7.9 million.

GM was the undisputed leader of the global auto industry for approximately 80 years, until 2008, which is when Toyota Motors became the top global car manufacturer. Due to natural calamities that affected Japan and Thailand in 2011, Toyota production was affected and due to which they lost the top spot.

In calculating their total sales, GM has went ahead and included sales figures of their affiliates around the world, including Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co. and China’s SAIC Motor Corp. Volkswagen argues, if this is the case then they should be the largest car manufacturer in the world as they are yet to include sales of their affiliates in their total sales for 2011.

To clear the matter, Jim Cain, GM spokesperson stated, “Our goal is to be the best, not necessarily the biggest. If we had announced plans on world domination, we probably would have been quibbling with the sales of our competitors and that’s as far removed from focusing on the customers as you can get.”

Ms Rebecca Lindland, Analyst, IHS Automotive Consulting,  tried explaining stating, “It’s sort of like when you have a lot of step-brothers and sisters and someone asks you how many siblings you have. It hasn’t worked out so great for the last couple who have been number one. It’s very annoying, and it’s also meaningless. The important thing is whether they are making money.”

If we consider the sales figures of associates, then Toyota Motors actually slips even further down to the fourth spot and the third spot is taken over by the alliance of Nissan Renault. French Japanese alliance of Nissan Renault has the same person as their Chief Executive collectively sold 8.03 million vehicles in 2011, which is easily more than that of Toyota’s sales figures.