Toyota announced that their worldwide auto production capacity will not be fully restored until October. The announcement made a virtually certainty of something that was likely going to happen anyway but nobody expected, certainly not so soon.
General Motors is the best selling car company in the world.
When Toyota took the number one sales position from GM in 2008, it was viewed by many to the be latest milestone on the US car company’s road to oblivion. Few expected the title to be regained soon, if ever. But the two companies ended last year just thirty thousand vehicles apart, so the trend might have already put GM on the top this year. The problems in Japan make it a certainty. It also will put a lid on what otherwise might have been some loud celebrating of GM’s restoration as number one.
Behind this news is an even stranger sounding statistic: General Motors sells more vehicles in China than in the USA. Last year GM sold 2.35 million vehicles in China compared to 2.21 million in the USA. China became the world’s largest car market starting in 2009, a year when automobile sales jumped 46 percent. In 2010 they increased another 32 percent, but are expected to grow more modestly since the nation placed a limit on the number of vehicle licenses in its largest cities. Japanese car companies, particularly Toyota, have had a tougher route to Chinese acceptance. Volkswagen is number one in China and has made no secret of believing it can ride China’s rapid growth curve to supplant both GM and Toyota as the world’s top car seller.
Unfortunately this will be of little help to the US auto plant worker. China requires all foreign companies to joint venture with a local company. Consequently, almost all cars are produced within China. GM’s China partner is SAIC.