If GM's sales estimates are accurate, China knocked the United States out of the top spot in auto industry market sales for January — the first time the U.S. market has ever been beaten.

During today's GM monthly sales call today, Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis, estimates U.S. sales in January were about 668,000. "If you want to put this industry in perspective, it's the lowest January in terms of unit sales since January 1963," DiGiovanni said. DiGiovanni claimed 790,000 vehicles were sold in China in January. If those numbers hold true, then January, 2009 was the first month Chinese market sales have eclipsed U.S. market sales. A red storm rising indeed. [via Automotive News]