This year has seen Toyota become one of the "big three" in total sales in the U.S., claiming the number two spot ahead of Ford and Chrysler. Volkswagen has, in turn, set its sights on the leading Japanese automaker, seeking to challenge Toyota on a global scale. VW will certainly have to fight for every last sale if they hope to slot in ahead of Toyota.

VW plans 12 new models over the next three years to accomplish this goal, raising global deliveries from its record six million vehicles this year to eight million in 2010. A remake of the Scirocco sports hatchback, a minivan built in cooperation with Chrysler LLC, and the Tiguan crossover are three of the planned models. However it's likely the car based on the recently unveiled up! concept will add a significant portion of the new sales, especially as developing countries such as India and China begin to exert their collective buying power. Volkswagen is already a sales leader in the crucial Chinese market.

With profit forecasts looking up thanks to unspecified cost-cutting measures, VW hopes to increase production by 10% per year for the near future. We can only hope that VW can continue to strike a balance between quality and quantity as they ramp up volume to compete with the Japanese giant. At least we can rely on VW to make more interesting cars than Toyota, especially when it comes to hot hatches like the Golf R32.