Volkswagen commits $71B to become world’s number one automaker

Volkswagen AG said it will invest about 51.6 billion euros (nearly $71 billion) in its automotive division in the next five years as it aims to pass Toyota Motor Corp. as the No. 1 global automaker in sales and profitability by 2018.

“These investments underline Volkswagen’s goal of becoming the leading automobile manufacturer for its customers, employees and shareholders,” VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said in a statement after the automaker’s supervisory board today approved investment plans for 2011 to 2015.