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VW planning $65bn push

FRANKFURT: Volkswagen (VW) has earmarked 50.2 billion euros ($64.7bn) of investments over the coming three years as it accelerates plans designed to help it become the world's largest carmaker by the end of the decade.

As the company strives to replace Toyota as the No 1 carmaker globally, it is expanding its presence outside Europe, building or planning new factories in markets such as China, Mexico and Russia.

It is also stepping up investments in products and technology to consolidate its lead over stricken western European peers, which have slowed or shelved whole programmes, engine technologies and platform revamps while grappling with high costs in a shrinking European market.

"Despite the challenging economic environment, we are investing more than ever before to reach our long-term goals," the German group's chief executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement yesterday.

Volkswagen's total spending equals an average 16.7bn euros for the three years from 2013 through 2015.

Last year, it had said it would invest 62.4bn euros in the five years from 2012 until 2016, or an average 12.5bn per year.

The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said its capital expenditure would total 39.2bn euros, or six to seven per cent of sales for the period, broadly in line with analyst estimates.

That means Volkswagen will invest almost as much in property, plants and equipment over the next three years as analysts see Toyota and US rival General Motors spending together, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Volkswagen's strong sales outside Europe have allowed it to offer cut-price deals and swell its share of the battered European market to almost a quarter.



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