Strong growth at home and in China offset the automaker's $600 million loss in Europe in the fourth quarter.
But the automaker misses forecasts because of global troubles, and the record earnings may not thrill the still-struggling people of a nation that bailed the company out.
The automaker receives $40 million in advance orders just one day after announcing its newest vehicle.
The Japanese automaker promised an aggressive sales effort once it got back on its feet, and it began in January.
Overall sales are expected to increase by 7% for the month, continuing solid momentum from 2011.
GM probably reclaimed its global sales crown in 2011, but it comes with an asterisk.
However, changes in Chinese policy will likely increase capital expenditure and hurt the automaker's margins in the medium to long term.
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The stock fell Wednesday with the news that the company missed on both earnings and revenue in its most recent quarter.
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