By its own (controversial) count, GM was the world's largest automaker last year.
Not quite all the results are in yet, but its safe to say that General Motors will hold onto its title as the world's largest automaker with 9.03 million global sales in 2011 - if you go by the General's somewhat controversial counting method.
Toyota has yet to report its volume total for last year, but last month the Japanese company estimated its annual sales at 7.9 million vehicles. That number would be enough for third place in the global sales competition. Volkswagen has quoted its 2011 global sales at 8.16 million, up 14.3 percent ahead of the brand's 7.14 million tally in 2010 and good for the silver medal.
GM's 9.03 million sales in 2011 represents an increase of 7.6 percent from 8.39 million vehicles sold last year. In America, the automaker moved 2,503,820 vehicles, up 13.0 percent compared with 2010. China was also a bright spot for GM, with the automaker and its joint venture partners increasing sales 8.3 percent year over year to 2,547,203 vehicles.
It bears mentioning that GM's decision to report the sales of its Chinese joint venture partners as its own is a disputed practice not followed by some other automakers. GM does not have a controlling interest in SAIC-GM-Wuling, which sold 1,285,820 vehicles last year. Remove Wuling's sales from consideration and VW would be the world's largest automaker.