GM loses global sales crown after 77 years

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp reported an 11 percent drop in global sales in 2008, allowing rival Toyota Motor Corp to surpass it as the world's largest automaker for the first time.

GM, now struggling to restructure under a $13.4 billion U.S. government bailout, had held the title as the global auto industry leader for 77 years and used the line in marketing.

But for 2008, Detroit-based GM said sales tumbled to 8.35 million vehicles, pressured by tightening credit and a slowdown that began in the United States and spread to emerging markets where GM has been stronger.

GM shares fell 26 cents or 7.4 percent to $3.24 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday near midday.

Earlier this week, Toyota said its global sales for 2008 had slipped 4 percent to 8.97 million vehicles as it also battled a costly slowdown in key markets.

Both GM and Toyota downplayed the significance of the shift in market leadership.

"Share doesn't always pay the bills," Don Esmond, Toyota's senior vice president for U.S. operations, said at an industry conference when asked about Toyota capturing the No. 1 spot after years of gaining on GM.

GM and Toyota ended 2007 with a virtual tie.

GM sold 9.369 million vehicles, including those sold through SAIC-GM-Wuling, a commercial vehicle joint-venture in China in which the U.S. automaker has a minority stake.

Toyota sold 9.366 million vehicles for 2007.

GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner had vowed to defend the company's global sales leadership, saying the title was a point of pride for the automaker.

But with GM reliant on federal funding to avoid bankruptcy, GM Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson said late on Tuesday that the automaker had been forced to focus on other measures of the success of its turnaround.

"I actually noticed that they passed us in market capitalization, profitability and cash flow long ago," Henderson said of Toyota.

GM, which faces an end-March deadline to demonstrate to U.S. officials that it can be made viable, has a market capitalization of just under $2 billion.

Toyota has a market value of about $117 billion. Like GM, it has had to cut North American production and delay new investment. The Japanese automaker has warned that it will post its first-ever operating loss this fiscal year.

When asked about Toyota, GM's sales analyst Mike DiGiovanni said every major automaker was focused on profitability and survival amid the industry's worst downturn in decades.

"I don't think being No. 1 in global sales means much at all to the average consumer," he told reporters and analysts on a conference call. "I think it's an internal benchmark of our industry, but it really doesn't mean anything to the consumer."

But he also noted that GM had beat Toyota in sales in 17 of the 26 emerging markets the automaker tracks, including the big markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

In 2008, GM sold 64 percent of its vehicles outside the United States, up from 59 percent a year earlier.

GM's sales in its home market dropped by 20 percent in 2008 but it posted gains of 10 percent in Brazil, 30 percent in Russia, 9 percent in India and 6 percent in China.

Despite a slow start to 2009, DiGiovanni said GM expected upcoming fiscal stimulus packages from the United States, China and other governments would boost demand in the second half of the year.

"We feel we've weathered one hell of a storm, and we're cautiously optimistic as we move into '09 that we can stabilize and grow again," he said.

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Glenn Beck joined Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Thursday night to discuss Visa Inc.'s "horrifying" new plans to flag firearm sales by separately categorizing purchases at gun shops, a move that Glenn aptly described as "the next step in banning guns."

In what's been hailed as a major victory for gun control activists, Visa agreed to adopt the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) new set of standards by creating a special merchant category code for gun and ammunition sales.

In his appearance on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Glenn shared a letter written by Robert B. Thomson III, a senior vice president at Visa, showing that the credit card company initially pushed back on the ISO's new rules.

“We believe that asking payment networks to serve as a moral authority by deciding which legal goods can or cannot be purchased sets a dangerous precedent,” Thomson wrote in the letter to pro-gun-control lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Just days later, however, Visa had agreed to comply with the ISO's plan to establish a new merchant category code for gun stores. So why did Visa suddenly flip?

As Glenn explained, it all comes down to pressure from America's largest union-owned bank, the Amalgamated Bank, one of the only unionized banks in the United States and a proud proponent of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing.

"This is the next step in banning guns," Glenn asserted.

"It's horrifying!" Tucker responded after several seconds of stunned silence.

"I'm so grateful you did the reporting on this," he told Glenn. "I'm not sure why it falls to you since we have a couple of very large daily newspapers in this country you'd think would want to report this, yet none of them did. So, Glenn Beck did."


On a recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Program," Glenn broke down the details of this latest attack on the Second Amendment and revealed how this is a step toward something even worse than federal gun registration. Watch the video clip below for more details. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.


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Glenn Beck: Here's why Stacey Abrams' fetal heartbeat remarks are hilarious but TERRIFYING

(Left) Image source: video screenshot/ (right) Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has a new pro-abortion conspiracy theory: "There is no such thing as a [fetal] heartbeat at six weeks ... it is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have a right to take control of a woman’s body."

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguiere agreed Abrams' latest "misinformation" is not just ridiculous but could be dangerous if people are actually willing to believe her.

"If you want to defend abortion, go ahead and defend it. Defend what you're actually doing. Stop denying what is reality," Stu said. "If this is such a great defensible policy, then just come out and defend it, but they never can ... you notice how they can't go to the actual thing they say is so important. They keep defending these other things that aren't true."

Glenn said the pro-choice movement was successful for a long time because most people want the decision to be up to the woman and her doctor and that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. But when leftists began "celebrating" their abortions or calling for "abortion on demand" at any point in the pregnancy, that's when they start to lose support.

"Because they've celebrated abortion and are losing regular people, you can't put that genie back in the bottle. So, what do they have to do now? They have to take the insane step of discrediting medical machines and technology," Glenn said.

"This is after two years, by the way, of them claiming the biggest scandal in the world was people suggesting the voting machines were hacked — after they previously said that voting machines were hacked in elections they [Democrats] lost," Stu pointed out.

"Honestly, gang, think this through because this is where life gets very scary. This is where you go to authoritarian rule and you can kill millions of people because you're truly now discrediting things that everyone knows is true," Glenn warned.

"So, if you disagree ... you can say that is an evil magic box that has made up sounds in it to convince people. If they will buy that, you're at the Salem witch trials. 'If she doesn't float, she wasn't a witch.' That's what you're looking at right now — and what's frightening is, [Abrams] can say this with a straight face and no one discredits her," he continued.

"You don't think that they can convince those people that you are a terrorist because of the way you vote? [...] You don't think they can convince half the country that you should be eliminated, liquidated, put into a camp, whatever authoritarians love to do? ... We are headed towards dangerous, dangerous times. We better wake up and stand together because this is frightening — it's hilarious — but because people are taking it seriously, it is terrifying," Glenn added.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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A big question Glenn Beck has always had about “The Amazing Do-Over” is: How do you get the most powerful and wealthy nation that has ever existed to accept, “You will own nothing … and be happy”? A foundational principle of this country from its very inception has been land ownership. We worked hard, were fiscally responsible, and stayed away from high debt, but the progressive era began to erode all of that.

The Clinton Global Initiative recently gathered the ruling class to tell the plebes how to run their finances and called anyone who dared challenge their ideas “climate change deniers.” Glenn argues we are dangerously far down the “Road to Serfdom” and exposes the progressive playbook to keep us in line. It’s a 600-year-old medieval model that’s been the plan all along.

We’re already feeling economic pain, and yet they’re playing “Game of Thrones” with our lives. Turning us into serfs is their ultimate goal. How do they finish the complete restructuring of the American financial system and our way of life?

On Wednesday night's "Glenn TV," Glenn connects it all on the chalkboard and details the solution to fighting back against the ruling elites.

Watch the full episode below:

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These days, it seems like everything is about politics, and comedy has been one of the biggest targets. Many comedians are walking on eggshells, but stand-up comedian and "Saturday Night Live" alum Jim Breuer isn't one of them.

Breuer joined Glenn on the latest episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast" to talk about why he’d rather be funny than fearful and what inspired his hilarious comedy special, “Somebody Had to Say It," which has garnered almost 1.5 million views as of this writing.

Breuer made it clear that he does not consider himself to be political. "I'm not. I'm 100% not [political]," he told Glenn, before explaining how people started calling him political when he dared to ask questions about a certain shot that we're not allowed to mention, let alone question.

"When did medicine become political?" Breuer asked.

"What kind of price have you paid for being called political?" Glenn asked Breuer.

"To be dead honest with you, once COVID really kicked in, and ... once you realize we're not going to be here, that we're on borrowed time, and I do have God in my life ... you come to terms with reality on a deeper level. And when COVID kicked in, I said, 'You know what? All bets are off.' I already knew I wasn't in control. But now, not only am I not in control from the natural order of life, but now the puppet masters ... are in control," Breuer answered.

"It made me realize I don't have time to worry about what people think of me. I know where I'm at in life. I know where I'm at spiritually. I know where I'm at with my family," he added.

"That's tremendous power," Glenn said. "But it spooks the hell out of people."

"But it shouldn't!" Breuer exclaimed. "I'm excited that other people get this ... but they're stuck. We ain't got time for stuck. To me, this is the time of, 'You gotta rise.' For years and years and years, you allow fear to control your life. Fear of dying. Fear I might get sick ... everything's based out of fear. It's time for the fearless."

Breuer also revealed his secret for dealing with tough times, and he’s seen his share. But he also said he's seen miracles, including the incredible (and hilariously told) story of how he found faith, how God saved his marriage, and why one family friend was convinced his wife belonged to a cult.



Watch the full episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast" below:

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