Regardless of the exact number of vehicles Toyota says it sold last year, Automotive News is declaring it the World's Largest Automaker in 2007 based on the fact that GM included some 516,435 sales from the Chinese Wuling brand. GM only owns 34 percent of Wuling, the majority of which is owned by SAIC. Normally automakers don't report sales for brands in which they don't own a majority interest (that's why Mazda sales are not reported by Ford), and in this case Automotive News is subtracting Wuling sales from GM's total, which drops it down to 8,885,599 units. Toyota's easily got that beat regardless of the exact figure it eventually reports.
From the cheap seats, we can't tell you how much either automaker really cares if it's crowned the World's Largest Automaker in 2007. Nor can we say whether GM including sales figures for a brand that it technically doesn't own is a deliberate play on their part or something completely innocuous and not worth reading into. We'll leave that up to you.
[Source: Automotive News]