Volkswagen on Track to Overtake Toyota, CEO Says

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VolkswagenVolkswagen (VLKAY) CEO Martin Winterkorn said the company is on track to overtake Toyota Motor (TM) as the world's largest automaker.

The German company beat Toyota's full-year profit goal in the first nine months.

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"The Volkswagen group continues to have its sights firmly set on capturing pole position in the automotive industry," Winterkorn said in an e-mailed statement, according to Bloomberg News. Volkswagen is "well-positioned to achieve the goals laid down" for 2018, he said.

Volkswagen's nine-month profit rose fivefold to €3.78 billion ($5.23 billion). Toyota is aiming for profit of 340 billion yen ($4.16 billion) for the fiscal year ending in March.

Winterkorn has previously said that Volkswagen plans to surpass Toyota as the world's top automaker in sales and profitably by 2018. With strong sales growth in China, the company could beat that target.

"VW is closing in on Toyota on profitability targets," Tim Schuldt, an analyst at Equinet told Bloomberg News. "What matters now is to keep expanding the product portfolio to underpin the positive trend on deliveries."

Volkswagen expects 2010 global sales to be "clearly" higher than last year's record of 6.29 million cars and SUVs.

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