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VW likely to overtake Toyota as top carmaker in 2011

Volkswagen AG will probably become the world’s biggest carmaker this year, vaulting past Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co . on gains in emerging markets.

Volkswagen AG will probably become the world’s biggest carmaker this year, vaulting past Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co . on gains in emerging markets. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

.Volkswagen AG (VOW) will probably become the world’s biggest carmaker this year, vaulting past Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and General Motors Co. (GM) on gains in emerging markets.

The German company’s sales, third among carmakers in 2010, will probably rise 13 percent to 8.1 million vehicles this year, based on the average of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. GM sales will gain about 8 percent to 7.55 million, while Toyota will drop 9 percent to 7.27 million, according to the survey.

VW sales in China may rise almost 20 percent in 2011 and more than double in India, according to estimates at researcher J.D. Power & Associates. That’s a contrast to Toyota, which is suspending Southeast Asian plants because of floods in Thailand, months after an earthquake crippled production in Japan.

“Emerging markets are at a stage of car-adoption by consumers and there is still a large space for sales to grow. said Jenny Gu, Shanghai-based senior markets analyst for J.D. Power. ‘‘VW realized this and put a lot of effort on emerging markets.’’

Estimates at J.D. Powers, IHS Automotive and PwC Autofacts were used to calculate the average projections.

Volkswagen had fallen 3.3 percent this year in German trading before today, weighed by concerns about the European debt crisis. Still, that’s a smaller decline than the 34 percent drop at Detroit-based GM and 20 percent at Toyota.

Next Year’s Lead

Toyota may regain the lead from VW next year as the recovery of the Japanese company’s facilities from the March earthquake will pave the way for the Toyota City-based automaker to sell 8.4 million cars, or half a million units more than VW, according to research firm IHS Automotive. J.D. Power projects VW will retain its lead in 2012, outselling Toyota by about 50,000 units.

‘‘Growth in China, Europe and the U.S. are major contributors to VW’s expansion but they obviously also benefit from Toyota’s own misfortunes,” said Daniel Schwarz, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Commerzbank AG who recommends buying VW stock. Schwarz forecast the Japanese passenger-car market to increase by a quarter next year after shrinking by about a fifth in 2011.

Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW, which also owns the Audi and Skoda brands, focused on boosting capacity and its network of dealerships as it built its brand in markets such as China and India, Gu said in a telephone interview.

Chinese Growth

Automakers are turning to developing economies for growth as sales in mature markets slow. China, the world’s second- largest economy, will grow 9.5 percent this year, six times the pace of the U.S. and euro area, according to International Monetary Fund estimates last month. The country is already the biggest auto market globally, with sales exceeding 18 million in 2010.

VW sales in China will probably reach 2.3 million units and 116,000 in India this year, with the two markets accounting for about a third of the company’s sales, according to J.D. Power estimates.

VW, which operates more than 60 factories worldwide, plans to spend a record 62.4 billion euros ($87 billion) -- excluding its ventures in China -- over the next five years to raise annual production to 10 million by 2018. VW’s Chinese joint ventures, which are not consolidated, will invest another 14 billion euros through 2016. The German company may reach the target three years ahead of schedule, according to a person familiar with the matter.

‘Well Positioned’

“VW is well positioned in key markets and has about the broadest model portfolio among the top competitors,” said Marc- Rene Tonn, a Hamburg-based analyst with M.M. Warburg, who recommends buying VW stock.

The company has forecast its global sales will increase 5 percent this year after posting a record 7.2 million deliveries in 2010. The German carmaker’s Audi luxury unit overtook Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes Benz as the world’s second-largest maker of high- end vehicles earlier this year, trailing only BMW AG.

VW, the first overseas carmaker to enter China three decades ago, is planning to add two plants and double production to 3 million cars annually. Audi is considering a new factory there to expand annual manufacturing to as high as 700,000 vehicles by 2015 as luxury demand increases, Dietmar Voggenreiter, its China president said on Oct. 20.

Facing Hurdles

Still, VW faces hurdles with its partnership with Japanese carmaker Suzuki Motor Corp. (7269), whose venture in India is the top seller in the market. The German carmaker is also facing delays in a planned merger with Porsche SE.

Suzuki is seeking to end an alliance with its German partner after accusing it of violating a cooperation agreement by not sharing technology. VW has said it plans to keep its stake.

Ending the partnership with Suzuki would undermine the German automaker’s credit assessment, Moody’s Investors Service said in a statement today.

Toyota would be relinquishing its lead after last year’s record recalls, which has led President Akio Toyoda to say his key priorities will be focusing on customer satisfaction and restoring Toyota’s reputation.

Toyota temporarily halted all its plants to assess the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Seven months later, the automaker is facing factory closures across Southeast Asia, triggered by Thailand’s worst floods in half a century.

GM Gains

Toyota’s shortfalls paves the way for GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, to gain market share. The Detroit-based automaker is relying on sales in developing nations including China, Brazil and India for growth in the future, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said Sept. 21.

GM, which makes Buick and Chevrolet-branded sedans with Chinese partner SAIC Motor Co., sells more cars in China than in its home market. Sales in the nation has topped 2 million vehicles in 2011, the carmaker said on Oct. 17.

Growth in the global auto market will probably accelerate next year, rising 6.5 percent in 2012 after expanding 3.5 percent this year, according to estimates at Moody’s Investors Service. (Bloomberg)

<한글 기사>

폴크스바겐, 도요타 제치고 세계 업계 1위 된다

폴크스바겐이 올해 도요타와 제너럴모터스(GM)를 제치고 자동차시장 세계 1위 업체에 오를 것으로 보인다.

폴크스바겐은 중국•인도 등 신흥시장에서의 판매 호조에 힘입어 올해 판매량이 13% 늘어 총 810만대에 이를 것이라고 블룸버그가 조사를 의뢰한 전문가들이 24일(현지시간) 밝혔다.

반면 GM 판매량은 지난해보다 8% 늘어난 755만대, 도요타는 9% 줄어든 727만대에 머물 것으로 예상됐다. 

지난해 전 세계 자동차 판매 3위 업체였던 폴크스바겐이 급부상한 이유로는 신흥시장에서의 판매 증가와 1위 업체 도요타의 부진이 꼽힌다.  

시장조사기관 JD파워는 폴크스바겐이 올해 중국에서 20%에 가까운 판매량 증가를 기록할 것으로 내다봤다.

또 폴크스바겐이 중국과 인도에서만 올해 전체 판매량의 3분의 1을 팔아치울것 으로 전망했다.

JD파워 상하이지부의 제니 구 분석가는 "신흥시장 소비자들은 아직 차를 새로 사들이는 단계라 성장가능성이 크다"며 "폴크스바겐은 이를 깨닫고 신흥시장 개척에 많은 공을 들였다"고 말했다. 

중국에 진출한 최초의 외국 자동차업체인 폴크스바겐은 중국에 공장 2개를 더 세우고 생산을 현재의 2배인 300만대까지 늘리겠다는 계획이다. 

그러나 도요타는 지난 3월 발생한 일본 대지진으로 부품 수급에 한동안 어려움을 겪은데 이어 이번달에는 태국에서 대형 홍수가 발생해 동남아시아 공장의 가동을 멈춘 상태다.

폴크스바겐은 금융위기가 닥친 유럽에서도 도요타, GM보다 선전했다.

폴크스바겐의 올 초부터 지금까지 독일에서 3.3%의 판매량 감소를 기록했으나 

같은 기간 도요타는 20%, GM은 34% 판매량이 줄었다.  

IHS 오토모티브는 도요타가 일본 대지진으로 인한 피해를 회복하는 내년에 다시 업계 1위 자리를 탈환할 것이라고 내다봤지만, JD파워는 폴크스바겐이 내년에도 1위 자리를 지킬 것으로 전망했다.
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