Last month news emerged that GM was the number one car maker in the world last year based on total sales. But, Volkswagen is having none of that and says GM’s sales figures are as rubbery as their tyres.
Volkswagen claim GM’s published total of 9.03 million sales includes almost 2.5 million from Chinese manufacturers in which it owns a minority stake; SAIC (49%) and Liuzhou Wuling (44%).
If you subtract those numbers GM slides down the list to fourth place on the sales charts. First, unsurprisingly, would be Volkswagen (8.16 million sales), followed by Toyota (7.95m), Renault-Nissan (7.39m) and only marginally ahead of Hyundai-Kia (6.53m).
Volkswagen has boldly claimed it wants to be the world’s largest car maker and has previously announced a €51.6 billion plan titled Strategy 2018 to say how it will get there. A total of 10 million annual sales is their goal.
Interestingly, Volkswagen’s own sales figures for 2011 include 2.25 million sales from Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive (Volkswagen owns the maximum allowable 50% under Chinese law), as well as FAW-Volkswagen in which it only has a 40% stake.
GM doesn’t seem too fussed either way, spokesman Jim Cain told the Wall Street Journal they want “to be the best, not necessarily the biggest”.
“If we had announced plans on world domination, we probably would have been quibbling with the sales of our competitors and that’s as far removed from focusing on the customers as you can get,” he added.
UPDATE 2 February: New figures released by Renault-Nissan today state they achieved 8.03 million sales in 2011.