BERLIN (Reuters) - German carmaker Volkswagen (VOW3.DE) expects to sell more than 10 million vehicles across its multi-brand group this year, aiming to hit a long-running target four years earlier than previously planned.
Group sales were up 4.7 percent in the first two months of this year at 1.47 million autos, excluding the MAN SE (MAN.DE) and Scania (SCV-B.ST) heavy-trucks brands, VW said at its annual press conference on Thursday.
With its 10 million sales-goal within reach, VW will shift its focus more strongly toward earnings quality, the company said, counting on boosting margins with the gradual adoption of its new MQB modular platform for a wide range of cars.
"More than ever before, our objective is qualitative growth," Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said.
VW is working to cut production costs and shorten assembly times across its various ranges of small and medium-sized vehicles by basing them all on a new MQB single modular platform which standardizes production and shares a greater number of parts.
VW said last October it expects to save about 1 billion euros ($1.39 billion) in production costs this year as the number of cars built on the MQB platform may almost double to 2 million in 2014 and increase to 4 million by 2016.
Europe's largest automotive group last year eclipsed General Motors (GM) to become the world's second-biggest car maker behind Toyota <7203.T>, increasing sales 4.9 percent to a record 9.73 million vehicles.
Greater earnings quality will also be achieved by deepening cooperation with Porsche, which VW took over in 2012, and moves to integrate truckmakers MAN SE and Scania.
Deliveries are poised for further growth next year as VW plans to launch over 100 new models and facelifts in 2014 and 2015, it said.
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(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Greg Mahlich)