VW drops out of race to become world's biggest automaker

December 22, 2015, 7:06am

HOPES DASHED: VW hoped to overtake Toyota as the world's No.1 automaker by 2018, yet sales have been falling in the wake of its emissions scandal. Image: AFP / Igno Wagner  

AFP on Wheels24

Frankfurt, Germany - Embattled Volkswagen is abandoning its ambition to become the world's biggest automaker ahead of Japanese rival Toyota, its new chief executive said in a magazine interview published on Monday.

CEO Matthias Mueller told the weekly WirtschaftsWoche: "For me, this obsession with unit sales and the ambition to constantly reach new records makes no sense."

VW is currently engulfed in a scandal of global proportions after it was forced to admit in September that it installed pollution-cheating software in 11 million diesel engines worldwide.

VW in crisis

Mueller was brought in to resolve the crisis. The oft-stated goal of his predecessor Martin Winterkorn had been for VW to overtake Toyota as the world's No.1 automaker by 2018.

The German automaker - which owns 12 different brands - had even looked set to reach that goal in 2015. VW sales have been falling in the wake of the scandal.

While unit sales would remain important for the group, "I'm not going declare sheer size as an end in itself," Mueller said.

"It makes no difference to me whether we're number one, number two or number three in terms of volume of sales." <,p> VW still wants to remain a leader in the sector. "But our definition will be different," he said.