Volkswagen’s ambitious Chairman Martin Winterkorn may get his wish a half decade earlier than expected, a survey of key auto analysts predicting that as we roll into the final months of 2011 the German company is poised to become the world’s largest automotive manufacturer.
That’s at least seven years ahead of VW’s original target for world domination – but the maker had an unexpected, if tragic, helping hand. Toyota, which had been the automotive king-of-the-hill for several years running, has been toppled by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that crippled production for most of that country’s manufacturers for much of the past year.
General Motors, meanwhile, is also expected to push past Toyota, though it won’t regain the lead it held for three-quarters of a century thanks to the aggressive sales push by VW, according to a study by Bloomberg News.
That report predicts that sales will rise 13% this year for Volkswagen – which was the number-three maker for 2010 – to 8.1 million. General Motors will gain 8%, to reach 7.5 million. Toyota, meanwhile, will see sales slip by 9%, to 7.27 million, according to the analyst survey.