Japanese giant Toyota has emerged as the largest auto maker in the world surpassing beleaguered General Motors, as the American entity witnessed a steep slump in car sales in 2008.
According to the latest data, General Motors' global sales figures stood at 8.36 million last year, whereas Toyota managed to sell 8.97 million vehicles during the same period.
Reportedly, this is the first instance in about 80 years that General Motors did not sell the highest number of vehicles in the world.
General Motors, which last month received a lifeline from the Federal government to stay in business, today said it has sold more than 8.35 million vehicles globally last year.
"Compared with 2007, GM's total sales were down 11 per cent, reflecting continuing global economic pressures that include tightening credit, falling commodities prices and lack of GDP growth," the firm said in a statement.
Interestingly, both General Motors and Toyota are adversely hit by the ongoing economic turmoil.
Recently, the Japanese car maker had said the company would post its first operating loss primarily due to a drastic fall in worldwide demand.
Meanwhile, General Motors today said that in 2008, the firm sold 5.37 million vehicles outside the US, accounting for 64 per cent of the total global sales volume, compared with 59 per cent a year ago.
"In the fourth quarter of 2008, GM sales of 1.70 million vehicles were down 26 per cent, compared with the same quarter a year ago," the statement noted.