Volkswagen overtakes Toyota as largest car maker

General Motors Corp was once the world's largest automaker for 80 years until it filed for bankruptcy. The top rank is now being contested between Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG with the latter having taken the lead in the race.

According to media reports, German auto major has overtaken Toyota to emerge the world's largest automaker, thanks largely to a merger with Porsche AG. The two companies have together produced 4.4 million cars to date, which is about 400,000 more than Toyota.

The milestone was achieved not only with deal making, but also due to a slowing global economy. Toyota halved its production earlier this year and while Toyota went on to benefit from US government's cash-for-clunkers programme, the German auto major benefited even more from similar programmes in operation in Europe.

In China too,Volkswagen shot past Toyota as the Chinese government attempted to boost demand by cutting back taxes on car sales.

This is not for the first time that Volkwagen has achieved a major milestone. Last year VW overtook Ford Motor Co to take the No 3 slot in global sales.

Toyota became the world's largest carmaker last year after speeding past General Motors, which had held the position for over 80 years.

The firm has the capacity to make 10 million vehicles in2009 as compared with its 9.24 million output of last year. It is bracing for an extended dip in demand and plans to suspend a production line in Japan for more than a year from next year.