Volkswagen plans $7bn North America investment

Volkswagen Golf on display Volkswagen is looking to nearly double its sales in the US by 2018

German carmaker Volkswagen has said it will invest $7bn (£4bn) in North America over the next five years as it looks to boost its sales in the region.

The firm will also launch a new sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the US - one of its biggest markets - in 2016.

It also reiterated its goal of selling a million Volkswagens and Audis - its luxury brand - in the US by 2018.

Volkswagen has set its sights on becoming the world's biggest carmaker by then.

It is currently the world's third-biggest manufacturer, behind Japan's Toyota and US carmaker General Motors.

"As a group, we will be investing over $7bn in North America over the next five years," said Martin Winterkorn, chief executive of Volkswagen.

Robust growth

Volkswagen's plans to boost investment in the region come at a time when the US car market has been recovering from the slump seen in the years after the global financial crisis.

Analysts expect 2013 to be the best year for the US auto market since 2007, with total annual sales expected to reach nearly 15.6 million units.

If that figure is met, it would mark a strong recovery from 2009, when sales fell to 10.4 million.

Global carmakers, including Volkswagen, have benefited from the continuing recovery.

Last week, Volkswagen reported record sales for its luxury brands - Audi, Porsche and Bentley - in 2013.

A rise in deliveries in the US market was a key contributor to their sales during the period.

Audi's sales jumped 13.5% in the US during the period, from a year ago, while Porsche saw growth of 21% and Bentley deliveries rose 28%.

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