Volkswagen sets targets to dethrone Toyota image

Volkswagen, the world’s third-biggest carmaker, aims to boost group vehicle sales by nearly 60 percent and improve profit margins by 2018 in its drive to unseat Toyota as the world’s top carmaker.
The targets approved by the German group’s management board on Tuesday underscore VW’s ambitions to seize the industry lead before the decade is out.
Its plan is getting an unexpected boost from Toyota’s quality stumbles that have knocked one of the Japanese juggernaut’s key selling points.

VW earmarked vehicle sales of around 8 million in the medium term, rising to above the 10 million mark by 2018. It sold 6.3 million vehicles last year, up 1.1 percent, to grab 11.4 percent of the global vehicle market.
Europe’s biggest automaker also plans eventually to generate an operating margin of at least 5 percent in its core automotive business and a group pretax margin over 8 percent.

The 5 percent margin target does not include the planned integration next year of Porsche, which had to accept a reverse takeover by VW after a daring raid to acquire its much larger peer backfired.
VW’s automotive profit margin stood at just 1.6 percent in the first nine months of 2009.