General Motors chairman and CEO Dan Akerson passed up a chance to brag about the fact that the Detroit automaker is now expected to surpass Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG in 2011 as the world’s largest automaker. GM had held the title for more than seven decades only to lose it in 2008 to Toyota.
“I’m more interest in profits, margins and cash flow that I am necessarily beating or upping the numbers vis a vis any one of our competitors,” Akerson told reporters on the sidelines of a Buick event at the North American International Auto Show. “We need to focus on profits and margins and not necessarily try to post numbers on the board. We want to grow in terms of our cash flow so we can continue to invest in both up and down cycles and be strong financially.”
Akerson was pleased with the sales crown — but not gloating. Toyota’s volume in 2011 were hurt because an earthquake and tsunami in March and flooding in Thailand. ”It’s an indicative indicator of progress in the marketplace… You are not going to acheive the financial goals that we want to achieve and have declining market share or declining number of units sold. It’s one indicator among many — it’s one we do watch.”