Sometime last year, General Motors lost the title of the World's Largest Automaker to Toyota. As you surely know by now, GM hasn't really been enjoying the time it's spent as number two, having been hit with what are surely the toughest conditions ever seen by the American automaker in its 100-plus years of existence. Perhaps some time at the number three spot would help?

According to market research company R.L. Polk, Volkswagen is projected to overtake General Motors in total sales sometime this year, assuming GM's sales continue at their current pace, which is down by about 31% from last year. For it's part, VW is expected to see a much smaller 15% drop in global vehicle sales in 2009.

Things may start to look better for The General once the pivotal U.S. market starts to recover, assuming that the automaker is able to ride out the storm with the assistance of the federal government. Polk's own predictions indicate that the worldwide auto market will increase somewhat in 2010 and hit a new record by 2012.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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