VW Edges Past GM in Global Auto Sales to Take No. 2 Spot

Volkswagen AG gave a more precise figure for the number of vehicles it sold last year, pushing it narrowly ahead of General Motors Co. for second place in global auto deliveries.

The German manufacturer, which earlier this month reported a total of “over 9.7 million” vehicles sold, actually delivered 9.73 million vehicles in 2013, Christian Klingler, VW’s global sales chief, said today at an industry conference in Stuttgart. The figure, which includes vehicles from the Wolfsburg-based company’s MAN SE and Scania AB heavy-truck units, edged ahead of GM’s 9.71 million vehicles for the year. A spokesman for VW confirmed the comment.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn is pushing the company to become the world’s largest automaker, aiming to overtake current leader Toyota Motor Corp. by 2018. Including deliveries from subsidiaries Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co., Toyota sold 9.98 million vehicles last year. Competition among world’s top-three manufacturers is intensifying as the European car market ends a six-year contraction and VW redoubles its effort to boost U.S. sales.

Volkswagen’s sales growth in recent years has been fueled by surging demand in China. In 2013, VW edged out Detroit-based GM in the world’s largest car market for the first time in nine years, boosted by growth at luxury brands Audi and Porsche.

To close the gap in North America, where VW trails GM and Toyota, the maker of the Golf hatchback plans to spend more than $7 billion during the next five years. VW seeks to boost sales to 1 million vehicles in the U.S. by 2018, equivalent to 77 percent more than last year’s 565,800.

To defend its leading position in the U.S., GM has said it will bring out 15 new or updated vehicles there this year -- after 18 models in 2013 -- as the company transforms its lineup into one of the freshest in the industry from one of the oldest.

GM’s Chevrolet brand won the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards at the Detroit auto show in January with its Corvette Stingray sports car and Silverado pickup. It was the first time the U.S. carmaker has taken both prizes since 2007.

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