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Analysts say GM's production numbers will fall behind VW's

Analysts have predicted General Motors will produce less cars than Volkswagen AG this year, dropping it to the third largest car maker by volume.

Market research company R.L. Polk has predicted GM will suffer a 31 per cent drop in production this year.

In contrast, it predicts VW will drop production by 15 per cent, thanks in part to its limited exposure to the US market, where sales have dropped further than in Europe.

Toyota is the largest producer of cars in the world.

Global production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles is forecast to fall 19 per cent, or two million units, to 52.8 million vehicles this year - the lowest output since 1998.

Polk's report also predicted global car output will increase again in 2010, with strong growth pushing production levels to record levels of more than 70 million vehicles in 2012.

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