Update: GM gave us their point of view - "Actually, GM only posted it's 2011 Global sales numbers. We left the analysys of how that measured up, within total industry sales, to others." -- Worldwide sales last year of General Motors Co. rose by 7.6%, to 9.03 million vehicles, when compared to 2010.
But the question of whether GM or VW was the world's biggest seller last year can’t be easily pinpointed. It actually depends if minority-owned affiliates and truck companies are included, and also if vehicles like microvans sold in China are considered too. GM asserts that it sold about 1 million units more than Volkswagen Group, which also claims to be No. 1. According to The Wall Street Journal, VW think that it should be the top-seller for 2011 if sales of all of its affiliates were included.
The figures that VW released don’t include sales from truckmakers MAN and Scania, which will be added in a few weeks, according to a Volkswagen spokesman. It’s possible that these truckmakers will add 200,000 vehicles to VW's sales total. However, competitors and several analysts say that GM's numbers are pumped up by sales from its China partnerships with SAIC Motor Corp. and Wuling Motors Co.
GM excludes Wuling sales (with a total of 1.29 million microvans last year) from GM's total in a few tallies since GM holds a 44% minority stake in the partnership. In the same way, GM holds a 49% stake in its other big Chinese joint venture, Shanghai General Motors Corp., which reported sales of 1.20 million units in China in 2011.
Under China's investment rules, foreign automakers are limited to a maximum 50% stake in their Chinese joint ventures. Volkswagen sold 8.16 million vehicles in 2011, an 11% increase. Of this figure, over 2.2 million are from China, where VW has a 50% share of Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive and a share of FAW-Volkswagen Automotive.