Volkswagen has overtaken Toyota to become the world’s largest carmaker on units produced, according to the latest set of production figures.

German reports over the weekend quoted the figures from industry analysts Global Insight. The figures said the VW Group manufactured 4.4 million units in the first nine months of 2009 to Toyota’s 4.0m.

European sales set to tumble

Ford was listed as the world’s third largest manufacturer with 3.7m units produced, just ahead of General Motors with 3.6m units.

As part of its group strategy, VW had predicted it would become the world’s largest manufacturer by 2018, but the success of pan-European scrappage schemes have played into its hands.

Western European car sales have been rising all year, with Germany seeing the greatest gains. Despite the scrappage scheme ending in September, the country saw registrations grow by 26.1 per cent in October.

In the first nine months of the year, VW Group’s sales were up 34 per cent to 622,853 units. This has been helped by the launch of new Golf and Polo models, with sales of these up 54.1 per cent and 56.2 per cent respectively.

Its Skoda brand has enjoyed particular success in Germany so far this year, with Fabia sales up 92.4 per cent in the same period and Octavia sales up 20.4 per cent.

When asked to comment by Autocar, VW said it would be making no formal statement on the matter, but it did confirm the production figures were accurate.

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