General Motors Regains Sales Crown

After three years of being bested by Toyota, General Motors is once again the world’s best selling automaker. General Motors sold 9,025,942 in 2011, a 7.6 percent increase over last year’s figures. General Motors even bested Volkswagen, who have made it a public goal to become the biggest automaker on the block. Toyota trailed both GM and VW though, whose sales dropped 6 percent in 2011.

General Motors is not announcing this news with much vigor though. Seeing that Toyota was hampered by supply shortages stemming from the Japanese earthquake this year, GM does not want to seem boastful in its new found success.

However, this sales surge should not be attributed only to the weakness of Toyota. GM has been on a tear of new product launches such as the Sonic, and Cruze. These products have found traction in a sales segment that GM has been hard pressed to find success in and are a sign of GM being committed to producing quality cars. Furthermore, GM has been able to increase sales in spite of the public relations storm from the bailout and Chevy Volt controversies.

Also, Volkswagen has been stiff competition as well this year. They launched both the new Jetta and Passat, two cars in the heart of the U.S. market and both designed exclusively for American tastes. Volkswagen has made it no secret to become the largest automaker, so for GM to beat them is no small feat either.

The most promising sign out of this announcement is General Motor’s statement that they are focusing on profits, rather than sales numbers. Often, when an automaker focuses solely on sales numbers, the products fall in quality rapidly. Reson being, when automakers try to get the biggest volumes they often cut the costs of the car, and offer steep rebates to garner sales. This not only hurts the quality of the cars themselves, but also the long term financial health of the company. To say they are focusing on profit is not a sign of corporate greed in this case, but a promise to continue making a quality product.

However, General Motors is still pleased to have regained their lost sales, and looks forward to contiuing the fight in 2012. In a statement to the New York Times, CEO Dan Akerson highlighted this fighting spirit with this quote:

I want to win in the marketplace, but I want to win against a healthy and vibrant Toyota and Honda. Next year, we’ll put the gloves back on, and I’m sure they’ll go right back at us and we’ll go back at them.

With Toyota recovered from their supplier issues, Volkswagen on the attack, and key debuts from General Motors coming soon, 2012 is going to be an interesting year in the automotive marketplace.


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