Toyota's production and recall woes will hit its sales this year giving GM the opportunity to reclaim the number one spot.
GM is likely to regain the top spot in the global car industry again this year as the world's largest automaker with the current leader Toyota in trouble.
GM was the leading automaker in the world in terms of sales volume from 1932 to 2008.
Toyota was able to surpass GM when the Detroit automaker hit the skids back in 2008/2009 and had to file for bankruptcy.
But now, the Japanese automaker is plagued by production problems in Japan due to the earthquake/tsunami disaster that struck the country in March. The disaster has crippled automobile production in that country, hitting suppliers and disrupting the supply chain.
Toyota simply will not be able to build enough cars to retain the global number one spot.
Toyota sales have also been affected by a string of recalls over the last couple of years that have hurt the brand's image of quality and reliability. Toyota has had to recall a total of 14 million vehicles over that period.
And GM has enjoyed its own success. It emerged from bankruptcy very quickly and last year came within 30,000 units of Toyota. In 2010, Toyota sold 8.42 million vehicles while GM sold 8.39 million.
GM is also surging in China, now the world's largest auto market. GM sells about three times the number of vehicles there as does Toyota.