Fueled by record worldwide sales of its Chevrolet brand, General Motors has achieved 2011 sales of 9.03 million units, surpassing both the 8.16 million sold by Volkswagen and the 7.9 million estimated by Toyota. Like other Japanese automakers, Toyota was impacted by inventory shortages caused by the twin disasters in Japan.
That puts GM back on top of global sales, which is a remarkable achievement given the automaker’s financial health in 2009. GM hasn't sold that many vehicles worldwide since 2007, prompting GM’s stock to rise slightly on the news. In early afternoon trading on January 19, the stock was selling at a high of $24.93 per share.
The Chevrolet brand accounted for 4.76 million sales worldwide last year, breaking sales records in 15 markets (including the United States). Chevrolet sales in the U.S. totaled nearly 1.78 million units, representing a growth of more than 13 percent compared to prior year.
Leading sales for Chevrolet globally was the Cruze compact sedan, which sold more than 670,000 units around the world last year. Global platforms, such as the Sonic and Spark contributed to Chevrolet's success, and the brand has big expectations in 2012 for the global launch of the 2013 Malibu.
GM picked up four-tenths of a point of market share worldwide last year, and now accounts for 11.9 percent of global vehicle sales. Its largest market is China, which made up 28.2 percent of sales last year (including joint ventures with Chinese partners), followed by the United States, which produced 27.7 percent of sales.