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Volkswagen Plans to Overtake Toyota as World's Largest Automaker

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On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:40AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Volkswagen Plans to Overtake Toyota as World's Largest Automaker

CEO of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn stated that the company plans to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018. This is a lofty goal for Volkswagen; the German automaker tied at 5th place this year (under Honda, Subaru, Toyota, and Hyundai) on Consumer Report’s  list of top automakers. While it’s true that VW has had some award-winning vehicles, such as the Volkswagen GTi, selling more cars than Toyota will be quite an undertaking for the German automaker.

Winterkorn reports that he feels so strongly about leading the company into first place, as the world’s largest automaker, that he wants to remain the CEO long enough to see that continuity is established and the company's goals are met. "We know how ambitious our goals are," Winterkorn said in an interview to be published Monday in the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.

During Winterkorn’s time in executive office he has brought much success to the company. VW is in the process of merging with Porsche and has already acquired the truck maker Scania. In the second quarter of 2010 the German automaker posted its highest profit in 2 years.VW plans to make some significant changes in the future, such as the integration of Porsche AG sports cars and expansion projects with Suzuki Motor Corp. (which VW has a 20% stake in).

"All this won't happen automatically,” Winterkorn said.Winterkorn added that he enjoys his position "and would not object to carrying on if the supervisory board should so wish."

Although German contracts typically run for a 5-year period, an extension can be granted by a supervisory committee. The Winterkorn’s contract with VW may be approved for 4 more years to the end of 2015 after the board approves the extension next November.At age 63, Winterkorn has been VW group CEO since 2007 when he took over as the successor of Bernd Pischetsrieder. Winterkorn was previously head of Audi AG.

Last month, VW labor chief Bernd Osterloh, deputy chair of the supervisory board, said, “the board wants to prolong Mr. Winterkorn's contract. “Our chief executive officer has advanced the company in every respect,” he told workers.

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