VW to Invest $71 bn in auto unit to leapfrog Toyota


Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest car maker, will invest ¤51.6 billion ($71 billion) in the automotive business over the next five years to help reach the German company’s goal of surpassing Toyota Motor Corp by sales and profitability.

VW’s 20-member supervisory board approved the investments including outlays on plants, vehicles and development for the car maker’s nine brands at a meeting today, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based car maker said in an e-mailed statement. The car maker’s Chinese joint ventures will spend an additional ¤10.6 billion through 2015, VW said.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn is targeting a second consecutive year of record deliveries as he adds about 70 models, including Audi’s new A1 compact and successors to VW’s Touareg SUV and the Sharan family van. VW is aiming to sell more than 8 million cars by 2012 and 10 million as early as 2015, three years earlier than its official target of 2018, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month.

“They’re taking the necessary steps in lucrative markets like China, India and the US,” said Joerg Bode, one of the two VW supervisory board members who represent the German state of Lower Saxony, which owns 20 percent of the car maker and has veto rights.

Toyota, the world’s largest car maker, budgeted ¥670 billion ($8 billion) for plant and equipment spending in its fiscal year ending March 2011 and ¥760 billion for research and development.