Texas Politics, GM, Toyota And Global Sales Numbers

Almost everyone knows that LBJ got to the senate by stealing an election in 1948. His campaign waited for the final vote tally to be reported by his opponent, Coke Stevenson, and then produced the infamous Box 13 with the votes needed to put him over the edge. Though it's wrong to steal an election, LBJ was determined to avoid repeating what happened in 1941, when W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel did the same thing to him (O'Daniel is partially reproduced in O Brother, Where Art Thou?). The point of all this is that you don't want to be the first person to show your numbers. Toyota clearly knew this when they announced their global numbers were at 9.37 million, but wouldn't go into specifics. Today, GM announced their 2007 global sales numbers were 9,369,524.

So did GM win or lose? It was just reported that a source from Toyota said that Toyota sold 9.366 million in 2007, which would put them short of GM by about 3,000 vehicles. This would make GM the winner.

But Toyota still has the chance to announce officially what their numbers were and can easily then juice the figures by a few thousand to take the lead. Toyota leaked that they only sold 9.366 million cars, but they didn't say so officially. Of course, Toyota might not want to be the global leader. It could behoove them to show that they've narrowed the gap to just a few thousand vehicles and are therefore on the way up.

Whatever happens, Toyota has decided the story that gets told is the one they tell. Instead of stories about GM winning globally, the story is that GM might be the winner. It will be interesting to see how this plays out this month.