GM has announced today that its global sales tally for 2008 has come in at 8.35 million vehicles, which represents a 10.8% decline on 2007’s levels and a substantial 616,000 units short of Toyota’s tally over the same period. Toyota also experienced a sales decline over 2008, with its total dropping 4% over the course of the year to end at 8.97 million units.

In 2008, GM sold 5.37 million vehicles outside the U.S., accounting for 64% of total global sales volume compared with 59% a year ago. This represents a 22.7% decline in sales for GM in the U.S., its single biggest market. Toyota saw a 15.4% decline.

The highlight of GM's U.S. sales performance was the Chevrolet Malibu sedan, which achieved the highest percentage gain in annual sales volume (39%) of any of the top-20 selling vehicles in the country.

Despite achieving record sales in other markets, such as Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions, GM could not escape the toll global economic pressures have had on its overall results. Once again, challenges in the global financial markets, including credit tightening, the drop in commodity prices, and economic uncertainty were cited as reasons for the decline.

Incidentally, GM had still labelled itself as the “annual global industry sales leader for 77 years” on its website at the time of today’s announcement.