General Motors is not in any immediate danger of losing its crown as the world's largest automaker.
But Ford Motor Co. is inching closer, even though President Jac Nasser says the focus of Ford's growth strategy is not necessarily to be the biggest.
In the United States, Volvo's 1998 sales would have put Ford's total light-vehicle sales within 600,000 units of GM.
If Mazda sales were included, Ford would have been fewer than 350,000 units behind. Ford owns 33.4 percent of Mazda Motor Corp. and has management control but currently does not consolidate its sales.
Globally, the Volvo acquisition means Ford in 1998 would have been within 1.1 million units of GM. Adding Mazda's global total would have closed the gap to fewer than 137,000 vehicles.
A pro forma Global Top Five with the Ford total including Mazda would look like this:
1. GM, 8.1 million
2. Ford, 8.0 million
3. Toyota, 4.7 million
4. VW, 4.5 million
5. D/C 4.2 million
If DaimlerChrysler acquires Nissan, the combined companies would be in a dead heat for third place with Toyota at 4.7 million.