General Motors is back on top of the world less than three years after its bankruptcy and restructuring. The company is once again the world's top-selling automaker, with 9 million sales worldwide in 2011, almost a million more than second-placed Volkswagen. Toyota, which took top spot from GM in 2008, fell into third place after production cuts caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and flooding in Thailand.
GM's turnaround stems from its "ability to introduce competitive products and do it consistently," an industry analyst tells the Washington Post. Its best-selling vehicle worldwide was the compact Cruze. The Sunshine minivan came in second thanks to strong sales in China. But despite GM's success, the US government has only recovered $23 billion of the $50 billion it invested to save the company. The government owns around a third of GM's common stock and share prices will have to rise to $54 from the current $25 for it to recover its full investment. (Read more Toyota stories.)