When talking about which automaker is the biggest in the world, however, global sales must be taken into account. The editors at Drive.com.au, an Australian website with perhaps a little more perspective than some of us, noted that in the first seven months of 2006, General Motors has sold 4.6 million cars worldwide while Toyota has moved 4.32 million. Clearly the gap is not that large... and it's shrinking. In Australia, for instance, Toyota is some 30,000 units ahead of GM's Holden brand in year-to-date sales.
While Toyota did sell more vehicles in the U.S. during the month of July than Ford by a narrow margin, it's still third in sales behind the Big 2 for the first seven months of 2006. Perhaps of greater concern to the Big 2 and Chrysler is that Toyota has been the only one of the four to actually increase its sales volume in 2006.
Toyota believes it may pass GM in worldwide sales by 2008, and some are saying that it will happen as soon as next year. Time will tell, but it's clear that GM won't relinquish its mantle without a fight.