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By Mark Kleis

Volkswagen may not be a powerhouse in the U.S., but despite its historical struggles in what was up until very recently the largest auto market in the world, the brand continues to demonstrate strong growth in other markets.

VW has grown so much in fact, the brand and its leader have made it abundantly clear that they fully intend to surpass Toyota as the world's largest automaker, with a goal set for 2018, according to Automotive News.

Of course, achieving such a feat is not as easy as continuing with business as usual - Martin Winterkorn, VW CEO, knows that.

Winterkorn spoke in-depth about his goals as CEO on both a personal level, and for the company itself during an interview with Der Spiegel, a German news magazine. Regarding the goal to become the top automaker, Winterkorn said, "We know how ambitious our goals are. ...All this won't happen automatically."

The proud CEO went on to outline current challenges, such as completing the integration of sportscar giant Porsche AG into the VW family, as well as continuing and even expanding an existing relationship with Japanese automaker Suzuki. Winterkorn also said that he would like to stay on as CEO when his current contract ends - with one German outlet, Focus, reporting that the automaker will extend his contract through 2015.

Although not yet confirmed, it would come as no surprise that the board was already planning to lock Winterkorn in for another five years, just last month Bernd Osterloh, VW labor chief, discussed the automaker's desire to retain its current CEO, saying, "Our chief executive officer has advanced the company n every respect."



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You know, those are my thoughts as well. There is no point in trying to be Number 1 just to say so because in every instance we have witnessed recently with GM and Toyota that in generating the numbers required means that quality has faltered and not made of utmost importance.

That and if VW's cars become as dumbed down for the U.S. as they may (Golf, etc. excepted) become as witnessed by the new Jetta, and the upcoming mid-sized sedan that will displace the Passat as VW's midliner in the U.S., I am the person that would refuse to EVER buy another VW product because I would no longer be getting what I would expect in doing so.

In a Volkswagen, expect a feeling of unmatched class and quality FOR the class. A sensation of obtaining something more special than what everyone else has. An understated and cool German car with a love of the road and therefore a joi de vivre in its existence.

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