The first quarter of 2007 will forever mark Toyota’s ascension to the top of the podium. Toyota, including Lexus; Scion; Daihatsu; and Hino, sold 90,000 more cars than General Motors in the first three months of this year.

2,350,000 Camrys/Corollas/LS460’s/4Runners/Tundras/xB’s etc. vs 2,260,000 Impalas/ Silverados/Corvettes/9-3’s/Astras/Vibes/Escalades and others. That 90,000 gap is an interesting separation, in light of yesterday’s post (seen by clicking here) regarding General Motors 60,000 unit cut to fleet sales. Add that GM cutback to Toyota’s small increase in production for fleet sales, and you appear to have the sales difference wrapped up in a nutshell.

But this has never been purely about selling to Enterprise or government TPW departments. Toyota builds cars faster. They have an impressive array of dealers whose salespeople know the cars will sell themselves on quality and dependability. The vehicles are on the dealer lot for a short time, stay with the customer for a few years, and the cars bring the customer back to the showroom. Toyota is in almost every segment of the automotive world except the very sporty stuff and has necessary, but successful, strategic alliances . Subaru will quite likely build 100,000 Camrys in Lafayette, Indiana, for instance.

To understand the gravity of this situation, remember that General Motors, a 99-year old company, has held the top spot for 76 years. GM’s 2.26 million vehicles sold is actually up 3%, but Toyota’s total is up 9 percent. To understand the impact of this situation, read this story.