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Auto Sales Numbers: Toyota Creates Watershed Moment

2007 Toyota Camry
AP
2007 Toyota Camry

As I was digesting the latest auto sales numbers, I saw one bullet point cross the newswires that I keep thinking about. For the first time since 1931 Ford is not #2 in U.S. Auto Sales behind General Motors . The second place slot is now controlled by Toyota .

If you've read this or any other auto blog for some time, this does not come as a surprise. Toyota outsold Ford several months in 2007, and this year end figure confirms what we've been seeing for some time.

Still, it's a watershed moment in America. Just two years ago, Toyota was #4 in the U.S. Now it's #2.

Meanwhile, the final sales numbers shows Chevrolet has edged Toyota (minus Lexus and Scion) to be the #1 selling auto brand in the U.S. The margin of victory was roughly 20,000 vehicles. Not much when you consider Chevy sold 2,265,000 cars, trucks and SUV's last year.

While Toyota execs always downplay who is first or second, this title is a big point of pride-especially with dealers. Just a fwe years ago, Chevy and Ford were locked in such a pitched battle for #1 both companies made it point to use December as the month to try and distance themselves from the other automaker.

Decomber Sales All 2007 Sales

GM down 5.2% down 6.3%
Toyota down 1.7% up 3.1%
Ford down 9.2% down 12%

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com