The tectonic plates of the world car industry are shifting. For the first time since 1931, General Motors has a challenger for the number one sales spot. Japan’s Toyota is closing in on the US company.
Industry analysts said the reason the Japanese have caught up is that GM is selling fewer cars in the United States. In 2007 GM says it sold 9.37 million vehicles worldwide. Earlier this month, Toyota reported global sales of about the same.
With its smaller, more fuel efficient cars, Toyota has more than doubled its share of the US market since 1990 and 16% of all cars and pick up trucks sold there last year were Toyotas. GM’s market share has dropped from more than a third in 1990 to less than a quarter last year.