The seesaw battle between GM and Toyota for the title of world's largest automaker is still being waged, and after tallying up global sales for the first half of the year, Toyota has opened up a pretty big lead. The Japanese automaker totaled 4.82m units told, with GM trailing with sales of 4.54m cars and trucks. While Toyota's sales are impressive, they're still off the pace of the 9.85m units the automaker expects to sell throughout 2008. The US and Japan have been the source of Toyota's pain this year, as both markets are in a downturn. In spite of record sales in Asia, Latin America, and Europe, GM had a 3% sales decline in the first half of the year. The entire problem rests solely with the General's performance at home, where sales are down a staggering 16% for the year. The news isn't expected to get much better in the States, as last month was the worst June in 17 years, and sales don't look any more promising in July.

While both GM and Toyota have been shrugging off talk of global sales battles, we're inclined to believe selling the most vehicles on the planet is important to both automakers. And since GM has held the sales lead for 77 years, the Detroit automaker won't feel good if it loses its title. Down nearly 300k units through June, though, it'd almost take a miracle for the General to come out on top in 2008.

[Source: Reuters]