According to General Motors' recent sales report, 2.1 million units rolled out of GM factories during the third quarter - a grim global sales sheet for the giant automaker. An eleven-percent drop from the same period last year (and, down 15.8 percent in September in the catastrophic US market) is hard to ignore. To add insult to injury, GM now trails Toyota by some 300,000 units year-to-date.
A tough home market has not helped GM's cause and with Toyota enjoying wider success in a number of different markets, GM is finding it hard to keep up. GM has moved 6.7 million cars and trucks this year while Toyota has managed to shift over 7 million.
It is eye-opening to note that 61percent of GM's Q3 sales came from outside of the US, which, while up from last year's figure of 56 percent, is down from the 65 percent figure achieved in Q2 of this year. (The change in these percentages is more a function of GM's poor performance at home, rather than growing sales globally.)
Vice-President of sales and marketing Jonathan Browning noted that issues with global financial markets are causing havoc for GM, but also explained - somewhat optimistically - that sales in new and emerging markets are helping to ease the suffering.
With cash flow dwindling and merger talks with Chrysler on the horizon, there's likely to be some unhappy chaps in the ivory towers at GM. There are even tougher times ahead for GM (and certain to be more heads rolling). Keep watching this space folks - we'll let you know if there's suddenly an opening in GM engineering for a ZR1 track tester.