General Motors Co reclaimed its title as the world's top selling automaker for the first time in three years, after sales of more than 9 million vehicles globally in 2011.

GM's return to the top slot comes more than two years after its taxpayer-funded bankruptcy restructuring that allowed the Detroit-based automaker to cut its spiraling legacy costs.

GM vaulted to the top spot last year for the first time since 2008, when its global sales fell 11 percent, allowing Toyota Motor Co to overtake GM for the first time.

In 2011, Toyota's sales were hurt by severe production cuts following an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan as well as severe flooding in Thailand.

In December, Toyota forecast global sales in 2011 would be 7.9 million. The Japanese automaker will publish a final sales tally later this month.

That places Toyota in the No. 3 slot in 2011 worldwide sales, just behind Volkswagen AG, which sold 8.16 million vehicles last year.

GM's global figures includes its joint ventures in China.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman in Detroit; Editing by Bernard Orr)