The figure shows growth of 7.6 per cent compared with the 2010 figure of 8.39 million.
GM's Chevrolet brand contributed the most sales, selling 4.76 million units worldwide, while the Chinese market, showing a 8.3 per cent rise, added 2.55 million sales.
GM CEO Dan Akerson has said the sales leadership is not the highest priority for company, saying sales profits are more of a concern.
President of Automotive Consulting Group Dennis Virag told Automotive News the global lead is bragging rights but that the result should have a positive effect on the company's share price.
During the first nine months of 2011, GM earned $8.47 billion, up from its total 2010 earnings of $6.17 billion. The company's share price, as of yesterday, was $24.80 - less than half the price the US Government would need to sell each of its shares at to break even.
This is the third consecutive year GM sales have risen, after sales dropped annually between 2000 and 2009 - with respective plummets of 22.9 and 30.1 per cent in 2008 and 2009 contributing to the company's slide into bankruptcy.
GM sales include the Chevrolet, Holden, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Opel, and Vauxhall brands, and two joint ventures in China.