This morning GM released its global sales for last year, and guess what, the company is still #1 in the world.But it is now in a virtual tie with Toyota for the top spot. Officially, GM sold 9.369 million vehicles worldwide.
Toyota recently reported its global sales at 9.37 million for '07. So Is Toyota #1? Well, because the company is not giving a detailed final number for sales, it's hard to tell if it sold 9.37 million or something closer to 9.369 million, and the number was rounded up- hey, that's what the headline writers have been saying about GM.
So is this a watershed moment? Is it time to proclaim Toyota king of the auto world? Does it even matter?
Personally, I don't think it's a watershed moment. We've known, and both companies have acknowledged for some time that Toyota is on a trajectory that has it eventually passing General Motors.
Toyota is careful not to trumpet its rise to to the top for a couple of reasons. First, it's not in the culture of the company to boast of sales achievements. Second, this is a company that's still careful not to ruffle feathers in the U.S. by bragging about passing up GM globally.
Does any of this matter? GM will tell you no. It says that it's profits, not sales that matter. Which bring up why the company's sales release touts three consecutive years of selling more than 9 million vehicles worldwide. Toyota will also say no. But there's no doubt, the company wants to beat catch GM in China (where GM is #1), in Europe (where Chevy is leading a GM resurgence) and ultimately in the U.S. (where Toyota is now a distant #2).
Does it matter to you who is #1 in the world?
Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com