Volkswagen AG, growing in emerging markets and the United States with the help of its new Chattanooga plant, will probably become the world's No. 1 carmaker this year, according to Bloomberg News.
The German company's sales, third among carmakers in 2010, will probably rise 13 percent to 8.1 million vehicles this year, based on the average of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. GM sales will gain about 8 percent to 7.55 million, while Toyota will drop 9 percent to 7.27 million, according to the survey.
VW sales in China may rise almost 20 percent in 2011 and more than double in India, according to estimates at researcher J.D. Power & Associates. That's a contrast to Toyota, which is suspending Southeast Asian plants because of floods in Thailand, months after an earthquake crippled production in Japan.
Toyota may regain the lead from VW next year as the recovery of the Japanese company's facilities from the March earthquake will pave the way for the Toyota City-based automaker to sell 8.4 million cars, or half a million units more than VW, according to research firm IHS Automotive.
VW's Chattanooga plant officially started production in May of its new midsize Passat, and first-month sales last month surpassed projections, officials said.