General Motors’ global sales rose 4.6 percent during the first nine months of the year to 7.25 million, but the increase probably won’t be big enough to unseat Toyota from the global sales throne.
GM said Thursday that it sold about 2.4 million light vehicles from July through September, led by an 8 percent rise in international sales including China. Third-quarter sales were up 5.5 percent worldwide.
Toyota Motor Corp. won’t release its third-quarter numbers until Oct. 28, but the Japanese automaker sold 4.91 million vehicles globally from January through June. That puts it on pace to sell 7.37 million cars and trucks in the first three quarters, which would be enough to hold off General Motors Co.
Germany’s Volkswagen AG, which has been gaining ground on GM and Toyota, said last week that it sold just over 7 million vehicles worldwide during the first nine months, making it a close third. VW’s global sales were up almost 5 percent from January through September.
GM was the top-selling automaker in the world for seven decades before losing that title to Toyota in 2008. GM retook the spot in 2011, when Toyota’s plants were slowed by an earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan that wiped out parts suppliers.
Toyota has since recovered and was at the top again last year.