VW CEO Winterkorn pledges growth in U.S., Brazil

Winterkorn seeks profitable growth in Americas
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HANOVER (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said the automaker will redouble efforts to boost flagging sales in the United States as well as grow in Brazil as VW chases Toyota's global sales lead.

"The Americas are a significant cornerstone of the 2018 strategy," Winterkorn said in a statement at the company's annual shareholders meeting here today.  "We want to and we must grow there substantially and profitably."

Winterkorn said VW has laid the foundation for growth in North and South America with the decision to build a mid-sized SUV for the U.S. market from 2016, build a new Audi factory in Mexico and revamp its model lineup in Brazil.

VW reiterated today that annual deliveries may exceed 10 million vehicles for the first time in 2014, four years earlier than forecast. Plans to introduce 100 new or revamped cars through next year are part of a strategy to overtake Toyota as the global auto-sales leader by 2018. VW overtook General Motors Co. to become the world's second-biggest carmaker last year.

In the first four months, VW group vehicle sales rose 6 percent to more than 3.2 million vehicles, a record for the period, the company said today. The growth has been backed chiefly by expansion in China, as its efforts to push into the U.S. market have stalled. VW brand's sales fell 10 percent through April in the U.S.

Last year, Toyota sold 9.98 million vehicles worldwide followed by VW with 9.72 million. Third-place GM sold 9.71 million.

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Download PDFs, above right, for VW CEO Martin Winterkorn's speech and presentation to shareholders.

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