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by Tim Beissmann

Volkswagen’s push to become the world’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer by 2018 appears to be on track, with the German giant posting record sales over the first five months of this year.

Sales of Volkswagen Group’s new passenger cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles totalled 2.09 million units between January and May 2011, an increase of 12.2 percent from the 1.86 million vehicles sold over the same period in 2010.

Volkswagen is likely to rise to second in the global sales charts this year, slotting in behind a resurgent General Motors, and leapfrogging Toyota, which has been crippled by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disasters.

Toyota has revised its sales prediction for the 2011-2012 financial year down to 7.24 million vehicles, a figure both Volkswagen and GM are confident of surpassing.

Australia is a part of Volkswagen’s largest new vehicle market, which encompasses the Asia-Pacific region. In total, 792,100 vehicles have been sold in our region so far this year (an increase of 18.9 percent), although incredibly more than 90 percent of those vehicles have been delivered to China.

In Australia, all of Volkswagen Group’s core volume brands have enjoyed sales increases – Volkswagen up 6.0 percent, Audi up 12.7 percent, Skoda up 52.5 percent.

Volkswagen Group sales have also increased in other key markets around the world, including North America (up 19.7 percent), Central and Eastern Europe (up 40.2 percent) and Russia (up 99.1 percent).

Do you think Volkswagen will achieve its goal of becoming the largest global vehicle passenger manufacturer by 2018? Could it happen much sooner than that? Or will Toyota and GM return to power and keep the Germans at bay?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.




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