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GM again sells more cars abroad
U.S. automaker giant General Motors Corp. sold more cars outside the United States than at home for the second year in a row in 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The Detroit auto giant is expected late Friday to report global sales fell slightly last year, with most of the 80,000-vehicle sales decline coming from its core U.S. market. It is also expected to say that 55 percent of its 9.1 million-plus sales occurred abroad, said the report.

General Motors boss Rick Wagoner insists the US company will not give up its position as the world's top automaker without a fight. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s press opening of the North American International Auto Show, the GM chairman and chief executive said he was well aware of the seemingly unstoppable rise of Japan’s Toyota.

“I like being number one and I think our people take pride in it. So it’s not something we’re going to sit back and let somebody else pass us,” Wagoner told reporters late Thursday.

“We’re going to have to fight for every sale and do it in a way that is consistent with building the enterprise,” he said.

“We’re going to fight to keep the position and if we lose we're going to fight to get it back.”

Last month, Toyota said it planned to make 9.42 million vehicles worldwide this year. For the first time, that would exceed production at GM, which expects to have made 9.18m units in 2006.

This year, GM's production looks likely to fall with the company, like its Detroit rival Ford, laying off thousands of workers and shuttering plants.

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