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.

Copyright 2008 Reuters. click for restrictions

Blaze TV hosts Glenn Beck , Chad Prather, and Steven Crowder weighed-in with similar but different thoughts on the fascism associated with canceling Dr. Seuss.

Glenn Beck can't help but wonder, "What is wrong with us?" in light of the Dr. Seuss books that have been cancelled due to "hurtful and wrong" illustrations — that takes America one step closer to complete insanity.

Chad Prather approached the issue from a comedic perspective, stating that "Dr. Seuss is dead and could not be reached for comment."

Steven Crowder explained that Dr. Seuss books were banned for being offensive and insensitive to some. So Steven decided to parody the six banned children's books with progressively titled and hilariously inappropriate versions.

Read the full story from TheBlaze News here.

'We DON'T destroy books'

"They are banning Dr. Seuss books. How much more do you need to see before all of America wakes up? ... This is fascism!" Glenn said. "We don't destroy books. What is wrong with us, America?" - Glenn Beck. Download the podcast here.

Chad Prather's comedic take on why Dr. Seuss got canceled

"Dr. Seuss is dead and could not be reached for comment'"- Chad Prather. Download the podcast here.

Dr. Seuss BANNING Bonanza! New Progressive Book Titles Revealed! 

In this 7+1 segment-- Crowder uncovers, new, unreleased Dr. Seuss titles that will be released in the near future (parody). Download the podcast here.

Use promo code BLAZE to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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"What's your climate credit score?" That's a question Americans may have to answer if the green global elites get their way.

While the media has distracted us with Orange Man Bad! and Russia, Russia, Russia!, the Left has been busy working on the fundamental transformation of America with a primary pressure point — YOUR money through YOUR bank. Democrats, forgetting the words of MLK, like to group people into categories. They judge you based on what skin color you have, your religion, occupation, your ideology, and now … your carbon footprint.

On his Wednesday night TV special this week, Glenn Beck exposes how they're now planning, not only to categorize you, but to give you a score. It'll determine everything for you: whether you can buy a home, get a new car, open a business … EVERYTHING. And if you don't bend the knee? You'll be blacklisted. But this isn't some far-off conspiracy theory. Multiple big U.S. banks are part of a private U.S. financial group enacting these policies now. It's here, and we're ALL at risk.

Watch the full episode below:

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Unlike the mainstream media, we at the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" decided to actually do the research and get to the bottom of CPAC's controversial stage design, which many on the Left have suggested was purposefully shaped like an obscure Nazi symbol. We got our answers straight from the source — and it's not what the media is suggesting.

American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp joined Glenn on Wednesday to share the real story of the stage design, who designed it, and why he's taking legal options against those smearing the Conservative Political Action Conference's name seriously.

Matt told Glenn he'd never heard of the alleged Nazi insignia, noting that even a staff member who "studied anti-Semitism in college" did not recognize the obscure symbol. He went on to explain how the stage designing firm, Design Foundry, and Hyatt Hotels worked collaboratively with CPAC event organizers for months throughout the designing and construction of the stage. However, when pressured by the cancel culture mob on social media, both companies "ran for the tall grass."

"Both the Hyatt and [Design Foundry] looked to CPAC and said [they] had nothing to do with this stage. That's outrageous," Matt stated. "This whole process takes months ... everybody saw this. Everybody had to figure out how to construct this. Everybody had eyes on it from every angle. And nobody in that process ever raised their hand and said, 'Oh, you know, I took a European history class, and I noticed [that the stage design looked like a Nazi symbol.] Nobody."

Matt went on to add that, while CPAC expects attacks from the Left, they also have every intention of standing up for themselves, the conservative community, the Jewish community, and all the people who love America.

"We're fine with taking the hits. We always take the hits, it's part of being a prominent conservative group. We'll take the hits, but we won't let people lie," Matt said.

"I can't tell you how many people have called me during the course of this most tumultuous of years and said, at what point does the conservative community, do the 74 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump, do the people who love America, and think it's okay to read Dr. Seuss, and love Thomas Jefferson and Mount Rushmore, at what point do they start pushing back on the cancel culture? At what point do they say, this is a line you can't cross? I think we're at that line," he added.

"We called our conference, 'America Uncanceled.' The whole thing became about them canceling us. At what point do we not have the right to say,' you can't treat us this way'? You're disparaging us. You're destroying our reputation. You're destroying our ability to be respected members of our community. So, I'm taking your challenge of pursuing our legal options very seriously. And I think we have to go broader. We can't let these companies just follow the woke mob. We can't do it."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

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CNN reporter Jim Acosta was confronted at CPAC by The Federalist reporter David Marcus with a valid question: "When are you guys going to start covering Cuomo?" His answer — or, really, lack of an answer — perfectly demonstrates why he was earlier surrounded by CPAC attendees chanting, "CNN sucks!"

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday, Glenn and producer Stu Burguiere react to a video clip of the exchange with Acosta, as well as the mainstream media's double standards when it comes to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Watch the video below:

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