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GM might concede world’s top auto maker title to Toyota

General Motors Corp. might have lost its world’s top automaker spot to its Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. as GM reported on Wednesday that it sold 9,369,524 million vehicles globally in 2007.

Toyota Motor Corp. said last week it sold 9.37 million vehicles last year, but it noted Wednesday more precise figures would be available by the end of this month. GM’s global result, if also rounded to the nearest thousand, would also be 9.37 million, said a report by the Detroit Free Press, adding GM either sold up to 24 vehicles more than Toyota or up to 975 fewer. General Motors has held the title of world’s top auto maker for 76 years, but Toyota’s strong US growth and GM’s US sales decline helped Toyota move closer to the top spot in recent years. But in a sign of how important overseas markets have become to GM, growth abroad kept the global race neck-and-neck. “This is the kind of emerging market growth that fuels our global performance,” said John Middlebrook, GM vice president for global sales, service and marketing operations in a statement. “Customers are responding to our fuel-efficient and dynamically-designed product lineup around the world,” he added.

According to the Detroit-based GM, its 2007 tally was the second best global sales total in its 100-year history and marked only the fourth time GM topped the 9 million-vehicle mark. GM also cleared 9 million cars and trucks in 2006, 2005 and 1978. (