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Auto Industry

VW announces record investment scheme

Europe's largest carmaker aspires to become the world's leading vehicle producer by 2018. And to that end the company's management has agreed on a record investment initiative over the next three years.

German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) on Friday unveiled a global investment scheme designed to help the company strengthen its position in the hotly contested automobile market.

VW announced it would invest 50.2 billion euros ($64.7 billion) in the next three years, a record sum compared with all earlier corporate investment initiatives of the firm.

"Despite the challenging economic environment, we're investing more than ever before to reach our long-term goals," VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement.

Job engine VW

The planned volume of fresh investment is about four times the size of VW's operating profit of 11.3 billion euros in 2011.But that surely won't ruin the firm as it could still fall back on a comfortable 9.2-billion-euro cushion that's in place despite earlier costly takeovers of sports carmaker Porsche and motorcycle producer Ducati.

VW's announcement forms part of the company's campaign to replace Japan's Toyota and the US' General Motors as the world's number-one carmaker in five years' time.

Of the over 39 billion euros allocated for material investment, more than 50 percent will be spent in Germany. "We'll create the preconditions for ensuring that our 27 facilities in Germany will continue to play a crucial role globally in terms of innovation and competitiveness," said Winterkorn.

VW Works Council Chief Bernd Osterloh welcomed the program as "a clear decision in favor of safeguarding jobs amid a very difficult global business environment."

hg/dr (dpa, dapd, Reuters)