02/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Toyota May Displace GM As World's Biggest Automaker

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. is poised to end General Motors Corp.'s 77-year reign as the world's largest automaker after avoiding the worst of the meltdown in global auto demand.

GM's 2008 sales probably fell more than 10 percent to about 8.34 million vehicles, based on preliminary regional figures. Toyota posted a 4 percent drop to 8.92 million. Detroit-based GM will announce its official tally at about 9 a.m. New York time.

Toyota may take the crown after boosting sales 70 percent since 1999 on demand for fuel-efficient cars in the U.S., Europe and emerging markets. Still, bragging rights may do little to revive growth amid a global recession that has forced the Japanese automaker to forecast its first operating loss in 71 years and caused GM to seek a government bailout.

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