General Motors Co. achieved global sales of 9.03 million units last year, according to the automaker’s Web site. These results are likely to secure its place as the largest automaker in the world in terms of unit sales just two years after it emerged from bankruptcy. Its deliveries grew by 7.6% from 8.39 million in 2010 and it surpassed Volkswagen AG's 8.16 million by 11%. Toyota Motor Corp., which overtook GM to take the sales crown from GM in 2008, has yet to report full-year results.
For the past three quarters, Toyota’s deliveries dropped by 8.8% to 5.77 million, as its output was affected by the Japan earthquake and flooding in Thailand.
Meanwhile, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that profit margins are prioritized higher than global unit volumes. The company gets a boost from the sales leadership, according to Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group. Virag explained further, "It's bragging rights." He is hoping that this would “have some impact on their share price." GM’s shares increased by 31 cents, or 1.26%, to close at $24.82 in New York Stock Exchange trading last Thursday.
The U.S. government still owns almost a third of GM. The government would have to sell its stake at an average of $53 a share to break even. GM had earnings of $6.17 billion in 2010, compared to $8.47 billion in the first nine months of 2011.
Through an e-mail, Kevin Tynan, senior automotive analyst for Bloomberg LP, said that the sales figure isn’t an important as the methods taken to reach this number. He said that in recent years, GM had the most sales but was unprofitable. Harry Wilson, who is formerly a member of the Obama administration's Auto Task Force, which supervised GM's $50 billion bailout, said that the group didn’t expect GM to beat Toyota this soon after its bankruptcy filing on June 1, 2009.