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Sign “O” the Times

January 28th, 2013 - 7:14 am

Toyota reclaims top automaker spot, and by nearly half a million vehicles:

Earlier this month, General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) announced global sales of 9.29 million vehicles for the year. In late December, Toyota Motor (TM) said it expected that global sales for 2012 hit 9.7 million vehicles, and it confirmed that Monday when it reported global sales of 9.75 million.

And VW is less than a quarter million behind GM:

Volkswagen Group (VLKAY), which includes the VW, Audi and Porsche brands, came in at No. 3 with 9.09 million vehicles, the first time the company has topped 9 million.

Really though, GMs problem isn’t that it sells too few cars. It’s that it still has too many brands, is still too reliant on fleet sales and steep discounts, is still channel-stuffing its inventory, and is still forced to deal with a hostile and oversized labor force using Byzantine work rules.

An honest bankruptcy would have forced GM to undergo more fundamental restructuring. As it is, the new GM isn’t much different from the old GM.

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