Toyota Motor Corp.
regained the lead in global car sales over General Motors Co. in the first half of the year, with Volkswagen AG poised to move past GM and push the U.S. automaker into third place for the full year.
The bigger question is how soon the German auto giant also will pass Toyota and secure the global sales crown — an internal goal that VW management has targeted for 2018 as part of the company's so-called Strategie 18.
VW, in a cautious statement released Thursday, said: "The Volkswagen Group is right on track for 2018, but has not crossed the finish line yet. For us, quality takes precedence over quantity. We don't want to be the biggest, but rather the best and most sustainable automaker in the world. For us, environmentally friendly products and satisfied customers and employees are at least as important as sales rankings and profitability."