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Volkswagen keeps getting bugged out by U.S. market

Volkswagen reports earnings today at a moment when its business is on the upswing. The company has said its goal is to become the largest carmaker in the world. Volkswagen is the parent company of several brands, including Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley. So, how's it doing in its quest?   

Total world domination would be so much easier if there was no competition. For Volkswagen, third biggest car seller in the world, those rivals are Ford, General Motors, and Toyota according to Richard Hilgert, an equity analyst with Morningstar.  

"It's going to be a dog fight," Hilgert adds.

Volkswagen's profits soared 41 percent last year. The company sold more than 9 million cars for the first time ever. It has had great growth in China, its luxury Audi business is doing well, but car sales in Europe are declining.

Michelle Krebs, an analyst with Edmunds.com, says in order for Volkswagen to be the biggest, it first needs to conquer the U.S. 

"They are very strong, globally, and yet the U.S. market, I tease them. It's an emerging market for them," Krebs says. 

Last year Volkswagen sold more cars in the U.S. than it had since the 1970s. But that number, less than half a million, is only about 3 percent of the U.S. market. Volkswagen says it is focused on growing in the States, but also in two real emerging markets: India and Brazil.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

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