Despite General Motors' pain, company executives could still take comfort that it was the world's largest automaker.
But that might be slipping away, too.
Toyota Motor Corp. said last week that it plans to produce 9.06 million vehicles worldwide in 2006, about 10 percent more than this year. GM had forecast that it planned to produce 9.1 million vehicles in 2005. It has not provided a 2006 forecast.
Toyota clearly has momentum. Late next year it will open a plant in San Antonio to produce full-sized pickups. It will open another assembly plant in Ontario in 2008 to build the next-generation RAV4.
Meanwhile, GM is contracting -- and writhing in pain. It plans to close two assembly plants and a stamping plant in 2006 in North America.
GM has been No. 1 since it passed Ford Motor Co. in 1931.