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by Tim Beissmann

Volkswagen AG has extended the contract of its CEO and Management Board Chairman, Dr Martin Winterkorn, until the beginning of 2016.

The brand’s supervisory board voted unanimously to retain Winterkorn, who has held the role since 2007.

The decision will allow the 63-year-old to oversee the merger with Porsche AG and continue to push towards the company’s goal of becoming the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer by 2018.

Since assuming the role, Volkswagen’s preferred shares have more than doubled, and last year alone its stock gained 86 percent.

Under Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s plans are ambitious but also well supported financially.

Volkswagen AG forecast sales of more than seven million vehicles for 2010, and is aiming to sell eight million by 2012 and 10 million by 2015.

Late last year it announced plans to invest 51.6 billion euros ($67.6 billion) in its automotive operations over the next five years – a timeframe that matches Winterkorn’s contract extension.

Much of the investment and predicted growth is directed towards China – Volkswagen’s largest market – where it plans to double production to three million vehicles by 2014.




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