Toyota retakes crown from GM as Detroit motor show kicks off

City A.M. Reporter
GENERAL Motors reported a 2.9 per cent rise in global sales yesterday as the Detroit motor show opened its doors.

GM, which launched a new version of its Chevy Corvette sports car at the industry show, said global sales totalled more than 9.28m vehicles, up from just over 9m in 2011.

But it was not enough to outpace Toyota, which has retaken its title as the world’s top-selling car maker after growing its sales 22 per cent to 9.7m vehicles.

Toyota was aided by new models and a bounce back from the Japanese tsunami that closed some of its factories in 2011 and pushed the firm into second place for global sales.

GM’s international operations, dominated by China, had the biggest increase, 10.1 per cent to more than 3.61m vehicles. GM is the market leader in China.

GM and its Chinese joint ventures sold almost 2.84m cars and trucks last year, up 11.3 per cent from 2011. Domestic sales by Shanghai GM rose 10.9 per cent to a record 1,331,022 vehicles.

Sales for the North American region, GM’s second largest, rose 3.2 per cent to almost 3.02m vehicles last year. The Chevy brand made up 71 per cent of US sales last year.

In Europe, where the money-losing Opel unit is struggling to restructure operations, sales slid 8.2 per cent to almost 1.61m vehicles.

GM chief executive Dan Akerson reiterated yesterday that Opel is not for sale, following a French media report that PSA Peugeot Citroen could take over the business.

“Opel is not for sale,” Akerson told reporters. “It’s not to be given away either.”