GM Reclaims Crown as No.1 Global Car Company

Toyota (TM) took the spot as the world's No.1 car company in 2009, replacing GM (GM) which held the honor for decades. Now, GM has taken the position back based on its data from the first half and numbers from Toyota and VW. VW actually claimed the second spot and pushed Toyota into third.

It has been a long road for GM but there's definitely much to cheer about these days. Sales in China are the major catalyst of the GM recovery. The U.S. manufacturer sold 1.27 million cars and light trucks in the world's largest auto market during the first half.

GM's fortunes bottomed when it filed for Chapter 11 in mid-2009. Forty days later, it emerged from bankruptcy, aided by U.S. government funds and cleansed of many of its balance sheet obligations. GM still had to rebuild sales which it lost during most of the last decade. It did so with new models, many for the U.S. market. And, it became the top car company in China, often tied with VW for that lead.

Toyota's movement has driven into reverse. Recalls of 8.1 million cars worldwide damaged the company's sterling reputation and its sales. As the Japanese firm began to rebound, the March earthquake in its home market crippled production. And many of its plants in Japan will not be at full production until September. In the meantime, a lack of cars and parts have harmed its ability to compete in many nations, particularly the U.S.

VW's move into the No. 2 spot should not be much of a surprise. It is one of the dominant manufacturers in the EU markets. Its position in China is strong. And, it has begun an aggressive push into the U.S., where its market share is currently very small. VW's management's goal is to become the No.1 car company in the world by 2018. Its current trajectory could make that goal a reality.

The wild card in the race for the top spot in global car sales is Toyota's Japan production problems. Once it has all of its capacity back, it can begin a new move to take GM's position.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Matt White

I do my best not to support fascism, that is why I won't by from GM or any bailed out company. There is nothing 'patriotic' about bailing out companies. For anyone who thinks it is, they need to open a book. Preferably one on economics and another on philosophy. This isn't freedom.

September 01 2011 at 8:41 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

It's a good thing the emperor of China really liked his gift of a Buick 100 years ago. All it will take is Communist China to get ticked off at the US and tell Chinese consumers not to buy GM cars any more. Then GM would fall a number of places to a small car company and that would be that. The UAW contract is up this fall, and the UAW is hungry for getting their concessions back and adding more pay and benefits. That would be unwise in this economy. GM needs to save its profits so it won't go back to D.C. for more funds borrowed from the taxpayers. NO more bailouts.

August 07 2011 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Simpson

Ford is your U.S. Car Company now.

Anyone that buys a G.M. product should a hammer and sickle tattooed to their forehead. G.M. is a worthless company being propped up by the Obama adminisration. They both need to go down.

Ford and Toyotas are great vehicles.......NEVER buy G.M.

August 05 2011 at 9:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robert Simpson's comment

Get my American flag off of your foreign (Toyota) car. Where have you been for the last 3 years while Toyota has been announcing unprecidented recalls? Where do the profits go, Sherlock? We are the government, and we all own GM. I buy GM, and I am a patriotic American who served in the military during the Cold War. Did you serve? I bet not? Unlike you, I want GM to pay back the taxpayer and be successful for economic and national security. The government had to step in.

August 06 2011 at 11:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Well good for GM now they need to make a payment . I guess moving thier R & D to CHINA helped the bottom line
just fords for me from now on.

August 05 2011 at 2:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to barthreemachine's comment

At least you buy Ford.

August 06 2011 at 11:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

gm has definately solved some of its quality problems from the '70s and 80's. they can build a great car. they need more design help. i remember going to the 2004 auto show to see the "new" gto. even performance cannot save a butt ugly vehicle.

August 05 2011 at 12:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to vrosen's comment

2004 to 2011...That's 7 years ago. Get to a Buick, Chevy, GMC, or Cadillac dealer. Their designs are top notch. They are only getting better. Chrysler did some amazing things this past 2 years with interiors.

August 05 2011 at 12:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tmachine2's comment


That's a low blow. Have you ever worked in a factory? I wonder if I went to the south and did blood tests on KIA, Hyundai, Toyota, and Nissan employees. The UAW is under the microscope.

August 06 2011 at 11:26 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down

GM has become a gov. run money eating machine. Unless you are a UAW member you took it in the rear on this "bailout", just ask all the stock holder that got screwed.

August 05 2011 at 12:12 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kevmi16's comment

You worry about the stock holder verses the workers and the overall economy. We are in this together. Get off of it. A viable U.S. auto industry is important for economic and national security.

August 05 2011 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tmachine2's comment


UnAmerican? Are you an expert on what's American or not? There are a lot of views and opinions out there. It's not written into the Constitution that we are to have free market capitalism because we really don't. If you read your history, during WWII, our manufacturing sector helped us win WWII. Our government should protect vital industries. Why don't you complain about all of the subsidies and tax breaks we gave to foreign transplants, that they will never pay back. That's unAmerican to me. Wow!!!

August 06 2011 at 11:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

Do lower income earners hold stock? But their dollars will pay for GM and their Medicare will be cut!!! Poor paying for the rich!!!!

August 06 2011 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

i wonder how some feel about the japanese, korean and german car companies getting tax dollars, since you are so incensed about gm and chrysler got tax dollars?

August 05 2011 at 12:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to renaldo1949's comment

Thanks renaldo. Most people don't know that foreign transplants were given free land, massive government subsidies and tax breaks, and sweetheart perks to come to the U.S. They come here to avoid U.S. import quotas and tariffs. When an American buys a foreign car assembled in the U.S., the country of origin collects the tax revenue and proftis. A domestic brand boosts our economy and Treasury twice as much, but people still buy foreign vehicles like they are candy. The other thing is we can't even get our vehicles into Japan and S. Korea. What about fairness and justice? No wonder this country is in the crapper?

August 05 2011 at 12:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tmachine2's comment


I welcome foreign investment, but not at the expense of the demise of a domestic company. Look how many American companies were sold off to foreign investors? When you bring in a company like Toyota and give them billions in subsidies, cash in municipal bonds, give them free land, and massive tax breaks, they don't hire enough workers to cover taxpayer investments. Also, most of the profits and taxes on Toyota's go back to Japan. When you buy a domestic brand, the Treasury collects twice as much tax revenue and the profits go to Detroit, not Tokyo or Seoul. You need to look up the facts before you speak. Also, how can for every 10 UAW jobs lost to every 1 lower-paying job the foreign transplants create expand our tax base? How can for every one point of market share that foreign car coompanies gain in the U.S. netting in 18,000 American job losses expand our tax base? We need American companies investing in America.

August 06 2011 at 12:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

Data? #1 by data given by the government motors telling us they are now the biggest in the world?? Please.
Oh ya, unemployment rate went down. Next thing the gov. will tell us they found the gold at the end of the rainbow!
I am not biased on the products, but please tell the truth- who cares if they are #1? Build good cars/trucks made in America

August 05 2011 at 11:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to totyba's comment

Please get off the government motors trip. No matter who was in the White House, they would have done the same thing because our economy shrunk 9% after October 2008. Also, because of the suppliers, dealerships, and parts manufacturers, we would have lost nearly 3 million jobs if Chrysler and GM folded. Also, it would have put us into another Great Depression. It would have also hurt our national security. We should be grateful that GM is back on top and building exceptional vehicles. We need to buy Ford, GM, and Chrysler vehicles, or we will never get out of this recession.

August 05 2011 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to tmachine2's comment

Recent articles nothwithstanding, the Honda Civic is the best car in the world. Has been for decades and will continue to be. For the price, you get unmatched pricing, gas mileage, performance (the two I have owned have gotten 300,000+ miles with minimal maintenance) and the styling, while not a Jag of old, is attractive. Tell me any American vehicle that is half as good. And dont lie.

August 05 2011 at 11:20 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Kevin's comment

I would imagine that if a person was of fairly small stature (and didn't mind coming out second best after a collision), that vehicle could be a winner.

August 05 2011 at 11:32 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Honda Civic? It is fell to 19th on the top 20 U.S. sales list last month. Honda didn't have any cars in the top 10 last month. Consumer Reports doesn't even recomment that car anymore. The Chevy Cruze is the fastest selling compact car in the U.S. GM has 3 vehicles in the top 10, and 5 in the top 20. Also, your 300,000 mile mark is nothing. My brother got well over that on a 2009 Pontiac Grand Prix. Also, go online and see how many Chevy trucks have over a million miles on them. Your perception is wrong. Enjoy your job if you have one?

August 05 2011 at 11:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tmachine2's comment

My brother lived in a rural area in Ohio and Kentucky with bad roads and did a lot of HWY driving for his job, plus he weighs 410 pounds. That car took a beating. He had that 3800 V6 GM motor in it.

August 06 2011 at 12:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

I'm still fascinated with those Chrysler 300's; the ones that are equipped with the Hemi's.

August 05 2011 at 10:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rgkarasiewicz's comment

I was at a Chrylser dealer yesterday, and that new 300 is amazing.

August 05 2011 at 11:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply