GM global sales hit 9.7M last year, beats VW

In this Thursday, May 5, 2011, file photo, General Motors headquarters are shown in Detroit.

In this Thursday, May 5, 2011, file photo, General Motors headquarters are shown in Detroit. Photo by The Associated Press.

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors sold 9.71 million cars and trucks last year, probably not enough to beat out Toyota for the global sales crown, but about 200,000 better than Volkswagen.

Toyota, the sales champion in 2012, will report its sales next week. It only needs to show a little growth to beat GM again.

GM said Tuesday that sales of light vehicles worldwide grew 4 percent in 2013, led by growth in China and the United Kingdom. The company's sales in China rose 11 percent to set a record. U.S. sales were up 7 percent, slightly below the market's growth of nearly 8 percent.

Volkswagen said Monday that it sold 9.5 million light vehicles last year, setting a company record for overall sales.

Toyota sold roughly 9.7 million cars and trucks in 2012, recapturing the lead it ceded to GM in 2011.

GM was the top-selling carmaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008. But GM retook the sales crown in 2011 when Toyota's factories were slowed by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The disaster left Toyota dealers with few cars to sell. The Japanese company has since recovered.

Both companies say publicly that they don't care about who wins, but concede that the crown is an important morale booster for employees.

Toyota's global sales for the first nine months of the year reached 7.41 million vehicles, little changed from the previous year but outpacing General Motors to keep its lead over GM. Detroit-based GM sold 7.25 million vehicles from January through September.

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