VW CEO says the expected sales number puts the VW Group one step closer to achieving its goal of selling 10 million units a year by 2018 to become the world's largest automaker.

Volkswagen's ambition may just be paying off - at least, for this year.

The VW Group, which wants to sell 10 million cars a year by 2018 and become the top global automaker by sales volume, is one step closer to its goal with projected sales of 7 million units for 2010.

"The Volkswagen group is benefiting disproportionately from the upswing in the most important car markets," Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG, told Reuters.

The VW Group includes the VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti brands as well as owning Porsche AG whose sales numbers will now belong to the group. In 2009, total sales for the German automaker were a record 6.29 million units and VW Group was the only large automaker to post a growth in sales in that troubled year.

"This new delivery record is an important milestone for the implementation of our Strategy 2018," Winterkorn said in the Reuters story.

Currently Toyota Motor Corp. is the world's largest automaker, with a tally of 7.81 million vehicles sold in 2009.

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