GM poised to retake the lead

General Motors posted stronger-than-expected quarterly profits yesterday, driven by a recovery in the US market and strong sales in Asia, leaving the US giant in pole position to reclaim the title of the world's largest car maker this year.

But even though GM's total sales rose 15 per cent to $36.2bn (£22bn), shares in the company slipped as analysts worried about its aggressive price cuts.

The US car giant was overtaken by Toyota as the world's largest car maker in 2008 after 77 years in the top slot. But the Japanese group's sales this year are set to be hit by supply disruptions after March's earthquake. GM returned to the US stock market last autumn after being bailed out by the US in 2008.