Toyota Now the World’s Largest Automaker

Toyota named largest automaker in the world

Japanese carmaker Toyota has officially overtaken America’s General Motors (GM) as the world’s largest automaker for the first time in seven decades, after the company’s sales record for the year 2008 disposed off the latter from the top position.

Toyota sold 8.97 million vehicles in 2008, 600,000 more than achieved by General Motors. GM has blamed the falling market in the US as the main culprit of the loss.

Unofficially, Toyota has been touted as the number one carmaker since more than a year ago after showing strong growth with a number of best selling models. It was only about the question of time before it is academically unveiled.

However, both companies are facing tough times as the global economy continues to plunge and the two companies have been recording losses and decline in profits. General Motors, in particular, has been locked on lengthy discussion with the US and UK governments to get financial help, alongside another struggling automaker, Chrysler.

Toyota, on the other hand, will be shutting down all of its factories in Japan for more than a week between February and March as the demand of its vehicles from all regions shows weak improvement.

A study done by the Reputation Institute of New York found Toyota to be the world’s most reputable company for the year 2008, ahead of internet giant, Google and furniture icon, IKEA.

GM (UK) At a Brink of Collapsing

General Motors (GM) operation in the United Kingdom is edging closer to a financial collapse, as its share price slumped to a 65-year low yesterday and the company’s management admitting that the company may be running out of money by the end of the year.

A prominent automotive analyst from the Deutsche Bank, Rod Lache, even went to the extend of placing a zero price target on GM’s share, while a number of others predict that a Lehman Brothers’ fate is beckoning for the car manufacturer.

In mid September, Lehman Brothers, once a mighty financial investment firm, filed for bankruptcy protection, ending its rich history spanning more 160 years.  5,000 of Lehman’s employees in the United Kingdom lost their job overnight.

Fortune ranked GM as the fourth largest company in 2008 by revenue in America behind Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil and Chevron but a further look into the company financial saw that the company is facing a cancerous financial predicament, with a reported loss close to $40 billion. Last week, US’ outgoing President, George Bush met with the President-elect Barack Obama to discuss ways to rescue GM, together with a host of other ailing American industry players.

GM worldwide operation has already slashed a few thousand jobs since the past few months, in an effort to uphold its survival quest.

Toyota Named the World’s Most Reputable Company

Toyota is the world’s most reputable company for the year 2008, a study by Reputation Institute, a New York based research firm concluded.

The Japanese company is currently the world’s largest auto maker, ahead of General Motors, the company it overtook since the last two years. Apart from the Toyota brand itself, it also owns other best selling vehicle brands such as Lexus, Scion, and Daihatsu in the form of compact cars, sport utility vehicles and trucks.

Other than the automotive business, Toyota also provides financial services such as financing, equipment leasing and related financial products.

On the second position was Google, which breaks into the top spot for the first time. The world’s largest search engine, which has won numerous business awards in the recent years, came as a little surprise, with the company’s reputation and value rising up almost unstoppable.

Sweden’s IKEA, Italy’s Ferrero and America’s Johnson & Johnson came third, fourth and fifth respectively.

More than 600 largest companies were researched to find those with the best global reputation. Toyota, which is headquartered in Tokyo, Aichi and Nagoya, Japan, was ranked 6th in the last two years – 2006 and 2007. In July 2008, Toyota was named as the world’s 5th largest company in the world, behind Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP.

GM Buckling Up, Cutting Thousands of Jobs

General Motors, GM is preparing to cut a few thousands jobs, mostly white collar workers, in order to return the company back to profitability.

It is also contemplating to proceed with the selling or discontinuing some of their production lines to cut cost, as well as raising cash. The company is badly hit by the escalating price of oil and raw materials, as well as the brewing recession set to land in the US.

GM was ranked the fourth largest company in the United States by revenue in 2008, raking close to US$200 billion sales, but in truth, it lost some US$40 billion. It is one of the largest auto makers in the world, and was once considered the biggest before it was taken over by its rival Toyota a year ago.

It is expected to return to black only in 3 years time.

General Motors produces a wide range of car and vehicle brands such as Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, Hummer, GM Daewoo, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and others. The company currently employs over a quarter of million of employees working in over 35 countries worldwide.

Note: A white collar worker refers to salaried professional who handles administrative and clerical job, as opposed to a blue collar worker whose job involves manual and labor work.