GM said yesterday it made 9.284 million vehicles worldwide last year, roughly 226,000 fewer than Toyota's 2007 production estimate of 9.51 million.
Toyota expects to have final numbers this month, but issued the 2007 estimate on Dec. 25.
The real prize, the worldwide auto sales lead, also must still be determined, with both companies to release 2007 global sales figures this month.
GM chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner said yesterday in an Internet chat with journalists that the companies are in a race to be the top vehicle maker.
"As I recall, we lead in 13 of the 15 largest markets, but Toyota has a huge lead in Japan," Wagoner said. "We're staying focused on our plan. Great cars, smart marketing, growth in the emerging markets. And hopefully that will keep us on top. If not, we'll come back to work the next day and work even harder."
GM said its production figures included joint ventures worldwide, including one with Toyota in California and ventures in Russia and China. Toyota's estimates include its Daihatsu small car and Hino truck operations.
GM has seen huge production growth outside of North America, offsetting a decline on its home turf.
In 2002, for example, GM's Asia-Pacific unit produced 307,000 vehicles, but that grew to 2.23 million last year. North American production fell from 5.64 million in 2002 to 4.27 million last year, according to figures posted on the company's website.