The Japanese automaker is forecasting a sales increase of 22% to 9.7 million vehicles last year -- numbers it will finalize at the end of this month. GM said Monday that its 2012 sales got a 2.9% boost.
The Detroit-based company held the world's top sales spot for more than seven decades but was dethroned by Toyota in 2008. GM retook the crown in 2011 as Toyota struggled with production setbacks linked to a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
But now the maker of the Prius and Camry models appears to back, touting a new record for North American manufacturing. Vehicle production in the region was up 41% last year from 2011, the Japanese automaker said.
GM, meanwhile, said sales in North America were up 3.2% last year to 3.02 million units.
The company sold nearly 5 million Chevrolet vehicles globally -- a record, it said, with more than 60% of transactions happening outside the U.S. The brand is rolling out 13 new or significantly redesigned products, including a new Corvette Stingray.
"Chevrolet is in the midst of the most aggressive rollout of new products in its history, which helped us deliver our ninth consecutive quarter of record global sales," Don Johnson, the brand's vice president of U.S. sales and service, said in a statement.
Volkswagen's sales are in third place with 9.07 million units sold worldwide last year, up 11.2% from the year before.