By on January 3, 2011

Volkswagen  extended Martin Winterkorn’s CEO contract for another five years, not that anyone doubted that they would do it. The now 63 year old Winterkorn has job security through 2016. In 2016, he’ll be 68, and if Volkswagen hasn’t caught up with Toyota by then, that will be the perfect time to go into retirement. After all, surpassing Toyota is scheduled for 2018. Or maybe not …

What is much more surprising is what Bloomberg picked up. “A person with knowledge of the matter” had told Bloomberg that Volkswagen is three years ahead of plan. VW wants to sell more than 8 million cars by 2012 and 10 million as early as 2015.These are conservative goals. For 2010, Volkswagen will most likely report sales in excess of 7 million units.

Toyota on the other hand is taking it easy. Toyota will most likely report a  total  worldwide production of 8.55 million units for 2010, and plans for only2 percent growth in 2011. If both keep that up, VW will be breathing down ToMoCo’s neck in two years. Well, Toyota never wanted to be number one. They were worried about what happens when everybody is out to get you. And look what happened. VW on the other hand is dead set to rule the world.  Are they really?

Now here is a very likely scenario: GM may have already unseated Toyota in 2010 production numbers. If not, they might do it this year. This would be the perfect scenario for Volkswagen. Whatever happens, they can always say: “Our goal was to unseat Toyota as the world largest automaker by 2018. Now that Toyota is no longer the world’s largest, the plan has been overtaken by events. Did we ever mention GM? No, we did not.”

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