The new General Motors' stock price may be hovering around its IPO levels, but just the same, recent analysis suggests it may regain preeminence as the world’s leading automaker.

Based on respective first quarter results, Forbes' blog reports GM is trending toward surpassing Toyota, which since 2008 has ranked above GM as the world’s largest auto manufacturer.

The face of the new GM.

For the recently completed first quarter, GM’s unit sales surged ahead by 11% year-over-year, whereas Toyota’s unit sales dipped by around 12% during the same period.

Now Toyota is facing increased challenges in the aftermath of Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami. At the same time, GM has weathered its own financial earthquake and tsunami – in the form of bankruptcy and restructuring – and is now rebounding.

According to Forbes the linchpin to GM’s potential reversal since the darkest days of its financial woes, is Asia, and particularly, China.

Unlike in Japan, GM has managed to gain respectable market share in China, the world’s largest auto market.

Granted, half of GM’s sales in China come via its joint ventures, it nonetheless can claim these as part of its increasing global strength.

Several Asian sub markets are also on the rise, and Forbes credits these as part of the total of GM’s possible rise to the number one spot again.

In contrast, the Japanese giant, Toyota along with other major Japanese auto companies, is reducing worldwide production due to supply line failures.

Declining Japanese consumer confidence is projected to compound the tangible problems as that society is still reeling from the effects of the tragic natural disaster.

Source: Forbes blog

Source: USA Today , GM