Toyota passes GM as top automaker

Japanese auto giant Toyota surpassed America's General Motors as the world's top automaker for the first three months of 2007. For the first time ever, Toyota has sold more cars worldwide than GM.

Toyota sold 2.348 million vehicles across the globe, compared to 2.26 million for General Motors during the same time period.

While the figures only represent the January-March quarter, they show a trend that isn't likely to change any time soon. Toyota has been gainng ground for some time, and analysts have expected 2007 or 2008 would be the year the year it finally overtakes GM.

GM sold 9.18 million vehicles in 2006, compared to Toyota's 9.018 -- a difference of 162,000 units. This year, Toyota has already sold 88,000 cars and trucks more than GM in the first three months.