Life ain't easy at the top. And, if you're Volkswagen, struggling to shove past both Toyota and General Motors on your way to becoming the world's largest automaker, it's not cheap, either. Says Martin Winterkorn, CEO of the gigantic conglomerate:

The Volkswagen Group is investing a record amount in forward-looking projects to achieve its goal of becoming the world's best automobile manufacturer... Top of the agenda for us are investments in environmentally friendly, sustainable models and drives.

Just what does "a record amount" equate to? A whopping $86.4 billion dollars (62.4 billion euros). And that doesn't include Volkswagen's two Chinese ventures, which will tack on an additional $19.1 billion (14 billion euros).

VW reckons that money ought to be enough to fund a five-percent sales increase globally in 2011 over 2010's record sum of 7.2 million vehicles, with plenty more expansion over the next five years.

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