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GM Tops Toyota in Second Quarter Global Sales

July 20, 2007

DETROIT -— General Motors Corp. beat out Toyota Motor Corp. in global sales for the second quarter of 2007 but remained No. 2 for the first half of the year, according to preliminary figures released by the rival automakers. GM recently announced it sold 2.41 million vehicles worldwide in the April-June period, while Toyota said it sold 2.37 million.

For the first quarter, Japan's leading automaker said it sold more cars and trucks than America's top automaker for the first time ever — 2.35 million to GM's 2.27 million.

For the first half of 2007, Toyota's reported global sales

totaled 4.72 million, compared with GM's 4.67 million.

GM said strong growth in Latin America, Asia and other emerging markets lifted its global sales by 0.4 percent from 2006's second quarter total of 2.40 million.

"We're on track to have our second-best annual sales performance in our almost 100-year history," John Middlebrook, GM's vice president for global sales, said in a statement.

GM's sales in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East grew 19.7 percent, while sales in Asia rose 8.2 percent. Sales in Europe rose 4.7 percent, while sales in North American fell 7 percent.

"Three of four regions are on record paces this year," Paul Ballew, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis, said in a conference call with reporters and industry analysts.

GM said second-quarter vehicle sales outside the U.S. were a record 1.39 million, accounting for about 58 percent of GM's global sales. Up nearly 8 percent compared with the second quarter of 2006.

U.S. sales, Ballew noted, continued to feel the effects of high gas prices and the weak housing market. GM also is weaning itself from low-profit sales to rental car companies.

But GM noted that its Saturn brand continued to grow in the U.S. and Canada, up nearly 27 percent based in part on sales of the Sky roadster, the Aura mid-sized car and the Outlook crossover.

GM shares fell 62 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $35.38 Thursday.

The title of the world's No. 1 automaker depends on annual worldwide vehicle production, rather than sales, so that distinction won't be determined until production numbers are released for the entire year.

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