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Steane Klose | Jan 22, 2009

Last year there was much conjecture as to which was the world's largest automaker, with Toyota and GM dukin' it out with near-identical sales figures. Albeit gloomy ones. In the final wash-up of 2008 however, a victor has emerged.

While exact figures are still coming, Toyota's sales have eclipsed GM by at least 600,000 units globally.

It is, of course, a bitter-sweet victory. Automotive manufactures the world over, Toyota included, have creaked and groaned their way through a very tough year.

Toyota then can be considered top of a shaky pile, so to speak, despite profit and market share reductions for the Big T.

For GM, it can perhaps take solace in the fact that it has held onto the number one spot for 77 long years. While it remains in desperate trouble, GM will likely live to fight another day. Its real battle over the next 12 months will be to retain the confidence of the US government that its massive bail-out loans are being put to good use.

Here, we're hoping that Toyota's new-found number one status inspires the Japanese marque to pull its finger out and give us a proper halo model. A production version of the FT-HS would do nicely (but we're not holding our breath).

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