For all the trouble Toyota has endured over the past year, the Japanese juggernaut is still the top dog in the automotive kingdom. Volkswagen wants to change that with an ambitious goal to overtake Toyota in overall sales and profitability by 2018. VW currently has a long way to go to reach Toyota, but Automotive News reports that the German automaker plans to bridge the gap by investing 51.6 billion euros ($71 billion in U.S. dollars) though 2015 to beef up it's product lineup.

That's a lot of coin by any stretch, and VW plans to spend that wealth in several key areas. A reported $38 billion will be spent to bolster the automaker's current model lineup across VW's many brands, enabling VW to "systematically continue its model roll out with a view to tapping new markets and segments." Another $19.6 billion will be spent on cross-product investments and another $14 billion will go towards what AN calls "additions to capitalized investment costs."

Volkswagen reportedly plans to hit 10 million global sales per year as early as 2015, but to increase sales so dramatically, new plants must be built. The German automaker will open a U.S. plant in Tennessee next year, and there are plans to build two more assembly plants in China in an effort to increase sales in the world's largest car market to three million units per year within four years. VW's plan to spend over $14 billion in China through 2015 isn't even included in the $71 billion investment, either, as all China operations are run under a joint venture with FAW and SAIC.

Will Volkswagen reach it's very ambitious goal to hit 10 million annual sales by 2015? We have no idea, but we can at least say that The People's Car Maker plans to spend big while trying.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]