General Motors sold more cars globally in 2011 than any other automaker, reclaiming the top sales title after losing it to Toyota in 2008. GM reported that it sold approximately 9.03 million vehicles in total, a 7.6 percent gain over 2010. Much of that success can be attributed to Chevrolet selling a record-setting 4.76 million units worldwide. GM has an 11.9 percent market share of the global vehicle industry.

Since emerging from a structured bankruptcy, GM has launched several new models geared toward buyers looking for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, with a fair amount of success. One of those successes is the Chevrolet Cruze, which recently topped 1 million total sales worldwide.

GM’s global sales topped Volkswagen’s 8.16 million sales and Toyota’s estimated 7.9 million sales, the Detroit Free Press reports. Toyota’s 2011 sales were down because of production constraints caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as flooding in Thailand.

Volkswagen is taking issue with GM’s claim to being the world’s largest automaker, Autoblog reports. “According to The Wall Street Journal, VW has said it will be adding some 200,000 units to its previously released sales total, contributions from some commercial truck manufacturers that are subsidiaries.” In its total vehicle count, GM also includes the sales figures of two of its Chinese partners, even though it does not have a controlling interest in either company.

Regardless of this dispute, GM does owe much of its sales success to the Chinese market. “In fact, General Motors again sold more vehicles in China last year than it did in the United States,” writes The Detroit News. “GM and its joint-venture partners sold more than 2.5 million units in China last year, up 8.3 percent from a year before.”

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