GM, which briefly regained the crown after Toyota’s supplies were shattered by the 2011 Japanese quake and tsunami, nonetheless remains at number two worldwide.
German rival Volkswagen, which aspires to be the world’s biggest automaker by 2018, reported an 11 percent increase in 2012 sales to 9.07 million on Sunday.
Toyota has forecast its 2012 sales will jump 22 percent to 9.7 million vehicles.
GM said its share of the global auto market fell 0.4 points to 11.9 percent.
GM’s international operations — Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East — posted the biggest gains, with sales up 10.1 percent at 3.6 million while its share was flat at 9.5 percent.
Sales fell 8.2 percent in Europe to 1.6 million vehicles, while GM’s share narrowed by 0.2 points to 8.5 percent.
North American sales rose 3.2 percent to just over three million, though GM’s share of its home market fell 1.5 points to 16.9 percent.
Sales in South America shrank 1.9 percent to just over a million vehicles, while GM’s share of the region fell 0.8 points to 18 percent.