Volkswagen on Track to Out-Sell Toyota This Year

Volkswagen AG is confident that it will continue to outperform the competition during the second half of the year. In an email statement sent today, Europe’s largest automaker said that sales of its Audi, Skoda and flagship brand vehicles rose 14 percent during the first six months compared to the industry-wide increase in sales of just 6.1 percent during the same period.

Volkswagen’s  Executive Officer of Sales & Marketing Christian Klingler said the company is “confident we can perform better than the global automobile market during the second half,” but admitted, “Plenty of hard work lies ahead.”

To help in its bid to overtake Toyota Motor Corporation as the world’s largest automaker by 2018, Volkswagen is counting heavily on continued growth in emerging markets, including Brazil, China, India and Russia. The company has predicted total global sales will increase 5 percent this year. Last year, VW posted a record 7.2 million deliveries worldwide.

In 2010, Toyota posted 8.42 million deliveries worldwide. General Motors Company reported 7.56 million sales for the year.

J.D. Power & Associates executive director of automotive forecasting Jeff Schuster said, “We’re looking at a three-horse race with Toyota, because of the earthquake, likely to fall to No. 3 from No. 1.” Although Toyota has made great strides since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Schuster said, “In the wake of what has happened, it will be extremely difficult for Toyota to retain the global sales title.”

He predicts that General Motors will finish 2011 as the global sales leader, with Volkswagen in second place for the first time in its history.

Schuster’s forecast is in line with IHS Automotive’s forecast, which predicts global sales volume for GM reaching 8.65 million units. IHS has forecast global sales volumes of 7.69 million units and 7.33 million units for Volkswagen and Toyota, respectively.

Last month, Volkswagen reported a 12 percent month-to-month increase in sales. Helping to boost year-to-date sales in June were double-digit increases in sales in the U.S. and China — the company’s biggest market. Sales in Eastern Europe rose 29 percent, and sales in the automaker’s home market rose 9.3 percent.

Last month, Volkswagen announced that it plans to increase production of its Tiguan compact SUV and Golf hatchback during the third quarter.

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