Volkswagen has overtaken Toyota to become the second-largest automaker in the world, after reporting a full-year 2011 sales figure of 8.16 million vehicles.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen is aiming to hit 10 million annual sales by 2018, and wants to overtake 2011 top-seller General Motors to gain the number one position.

Volkswagen sales grew by 14.3 per cent in 2011, up from 7.14 million sales of 2010. This included sales growth in the Asia/Pacific region, where Volkswagen Group sales were up by 19.8 per cent (2.56 million), as well as North America (up 5.1 per cent to 666,800) and South America (up 21.4 per cent to 933,400), contributing to a total of 1.6 million units.

Toyota has estimated a 2011 sales figure of 7.9 million, dropping by six per cent compared with its 2010 effort - sales of which include Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands. Toyota was hit hard by the effects of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster in March, but is likely to again challenge GM for top spot in 2012 with production largely back to normal.

Meanwhile, number one automaker GM is yet to post its 2011 total sales figure. Analysts predict the figure to be around the nine-million mark, based on projection rates from figures throughout the year.

Volkswagen Group sales do include brands such as Audi and Skoda, both of which saw increases in delivered vehicles. Audi sales were up by 19.2 per cent (1.3 million), while Skoda saw gains of 15.3 per cent (879,200).

The Volkswagen brand contributed the most however, with 5.09 million Volkswagens going to new homes in 2011. A figure that is also up 13.1 per cent compared with 2010.

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