When it comes to spending money, Volkswagen, as the No Fear shirts used to say, "Ain't skeered." Europe is reportedly headed for a 17-year low in annual car sales, VW share is down 0.6 percent on The Continent and manufacturing overcapacity is estimated to be around 30 percent industry-wide. That is making the ability to accurately predict Europe's future less easy by the day, so VW's solution is to shorten the timeline and spend more money. Last year the German company said it would invest $83.2 billion in the five years from 2012 to 2016; both Reuters and Bloomberg now report that the group will invest $64.7 billion in the three years from 2013 to 2015.

Last year's plan was to spend $16.7 billion per year, this year's plan means spending $21.7 billion per year. Barring a new announcement, that amount would equal the three-year investment that analysts expect from Toyota and General Motors, combined. Those other two companies also happen to be the ones above Volkswagen on the global sales chart, which the company's Strategy 2018 wants to change. The amounts don't include VW's intention to spend $12.7 billion on its joint ventures in China.

Reuters says that $13.7 billion will be put toward new models and "the design of alternative drives," and that two-thirds of the total will go toward making more efficient, green cars. Bloomberg puts that new-model development number at $32 billion, which includes a new line of trucks for MAN, and says there will be "40 models based on the same framework" as the MkVII Golf alone spread throughout the empire. No matter which way you slice it, it's a lot of money, and all of a sudden items like the Volkswagen XL1, a 1.0-liter Audi city car, a Q8 crossover and an R10 diesel hybrid supercar don't sound so outrageous.

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