Latest findings show that Toyota actually surpassed General Motors in the global sales race last year with a lead of roughly 128,000 vehicles. There had been rumors that Toyota had in fact understated its figures so as to avoid a backlash from American consumers but this latest report goes some way towards disproving the theory.

Data compiled by Automotive News reveal that for its sales tally, GM counted vehicles produced by subsidiaries that it only had a minority stake in. These included the seven-seat microvan and other vehicles manufactured by China’s Shanghai Auto and Liuzhou Wuling Auto.

When allocating these production numbers to 51% owner SAIC, GM’s sales tally for 2006 stands at 8,679,860 units versus Toyota’s 8,808,000. Other brands that are counted in Toyota’s figures include Daihatsu and Hino, while GM’s tally compromises more than a dozen brands including Opel and Saab as well as America’s Chevrolet and Buick.

Toyota is once again on the path to being number one for this year as well. Its current sales projection stands at 9.34 million units versus 9.2 million vehicles for GM.