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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On the radio program this week, Glenn Beck and Pat Gray discussed a series of recent polls that suggest presidential nominee Joe Biden's expected lead may be slipping with traditionally Democratic voters.

A new poll conducted by the Jewish Electorate Institute shows that two-thirds of Jewish voters still plan to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket in November. However, President Donald Trump's support within the Jewish community is also the highest among any Republican candidate in recent history.

In more bad news for Biden, a CNN poll (yes, CNN) released last month showed growing support for President Trump among black voters in swing states. Meanwhile, his support among Latino voters remains at roughly 33%.

"I don't think it's going to go the way the Democrats hope that it will," Glenn said of the election. "If you look at the groups that the Democrats have carefully fostered ... that's falling apart. If Donald Trump can grow that by 5%, and hurt the Democrats by 5% ... that alone could swing the election."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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We're being set up for a civil war. The Left is grooming us for an Eastern European-style revolution this election, and they're not even trying to hide it any more. The playbook for Mainstreet USA is the exact same that has been used in places like Ukraine, initiated by the same people in order to completely upend the American system.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck takes us through a tale of three chalkboards that will connect the dots: the Obama admin in Ukraine, the State Department's relationship with George Soros, Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots, the Great Reset, public school indoctrination, mail-in voting. It all points to something dangerous happening in November if we don't act now.

Watch the full video below:


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The left has already determined that the wildfires raging across the West Coast were definitely caused by climate change and Big Tech is determined to silence anyone who dares suggest otherwise. Facebook even announced a sweeping policy on Saturday to remove posts that claim the fires were caused by arson from far-left activists.

But on his radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck revealed multiple arrest records for suspected arsonists in California, Oregon, and Washington — and several of those charged and arrested were also instigators in Black Lives Matter rallies, violent protests, and Antifa riots. He also called out the "news gods" in Big Tech, daring them to try to censor his video.

"I asked my staff, to see if there was any evidence [of arson] on the fires. And I don't mean evidence from Twitter. I mean evidence. Is there anybody who has been arrested for arson?" Glenn said. "Well, here they are. And YouTube and Facebook, go ahead. I want you to demonetize this clip. I want you to somehow or another say that we're lying. I want you to throttle this. Go ahead. Because then you're going to have to explain what we got wrong. And I happen to have all the documents right here. So my attorney is really ready for that throttling or demonetization. You say you're a protector of the truth? Great, here it is."

Glenn read off the first 10 arrest records, which combined allege the destruction of more than 120,000 acres and 700 structures, as well as tens of thousands of people evacuated from their homes.

"You want to tell us, PolitiFact, how you came to the conclusion ... that there was no arson in these fires?" Glenn asked. "Can you tell me how you came to that conclusion? Because your fact-check seems to be entirely false."

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Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders joined Glenn Beck on this week's podcast to share her unique perspective as a trusted adviser and confidante to President Donald Trump for two and a half years, which she also details in her new book, "Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House."

Sarah described the unprecedented levels of corruption she saw firsthand during the Russia probe and shocking lengths to which Democratic leaders and the mainstream media would go to "take the president down."

Sarah said she often saw sides of Donald Trump that the media never covered. Recently, she went on the record denying the Atlantic's claims that the president mocked our military during a 2018 trip to France. She was on that trip, she told Glenn, and her account of what really happened paints a very different picture.

"The people who are making this outrageous charge are such cowards for doing so in an anonymous way. If you really believed this, and believed it was wrong, one, why did it take you so long? And, two, put your name on it the way the rest of us have," Sarah said.

"He didn't say those things. Not only was I there that day, Glenn, I spent two and a half years traveling all over the world with the president, watching him interact with men and women of our armed forces almost every single day during that two-and-a-half year period," she added.

"This is a person who loves America and loves the people who allow the rest of us to live in America, free, and have prosperity. And I got to see that a lot. I think it is shameful that people are trying to distort who he is and what he has done, particularly when it comes to the men and women in the military."

Watch a clip from the full interview with Sarah Huckabee Sanders below:

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