Mike Stevens | Feb 3, 2010

BOOSTED BY RECENT recall troubles for current world number one Toyota, Volkswagen has reaffirmed its goal of becoming the world's biggest carmaker by 2018.

Volkswagen - current world number three behind Toyota and GM - has earmarked eight million sales in the medium term, rising to over 10 million by 2018. The German carmaker sold 6.3 million vehicles in 2009, up 1.1 percent on the previous year.

In comparison, Toyota's global sales in 2009 fell 13 percent to 7.81 million. Although it forecasts 8.27 million for 2010, it will still fall short of the record 9.37 million sales it achieved in 2007.

Locally, Volkswagen sold 30,087 cars from January to December 2009 - a slight improvement over its 29,875 tally in 2008.

"The Volkswagen Group is seeking global economic and environmental leadership in the automotive industry by 2018," VW said in a statement this week.

Speaking at a press conference for its recent partnership deal with Suzuki, Dr Winterkorn was hopeful that the alliance would help the German company surpass Toyota as the world’s number one carmaker.

“If that succeeds faster [than 2018], we’re happy,” Dr Winterkorn said.

Demand for VW products in the major markets of Germany, China and Brazil has been fuelled by government incentives in the past year encouraging people to buy new cars.

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