If it were poker, Toyota would have looked at GM, pushed all its chips into the pot and said, "You know what that means." The other marque in the battle for worldwide supremacy has raised its projection for 2008 sales by 5-percent over this year, expecting to sell 9.85 million cars around the world on production of 9.95 million cars. This year, 2007, GM is estimated to have sold 9.3 million cars, compared to Toyota's estimated sales of 9.36 million.

Even with quite a few analysts and outlets predicting fewer vehicle sales in the US next year, Toyota is predicting a 1-percent increase in sales to 2.64 million units. The bulk of the sales growth will, as with every other global player, comes largely from emerging markets: China, Russia, India, and South America. This, of course, means Toyota will be leaning on its smaller models and hybrids to lead the way.

There's no way GM has given up the fight, having held the #1 spot for 76 years, and still holding the record for most cars sold: 9.55 million in 1978. You can be sure they don't want to give up both top slots in one year. To do so, they'll need to deliver on the design, the efficiency, the reliability and promises they've been making to the public for a while. As Big John McCarthy says at the beginning of an Ultimate Fighting match, "Let's get it on!"

[Source: Detroit News]