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Volkswagen cuts European sales target by 140,000 vehicles: report

A new model of the Volkswagen Golf GTI is displayed on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile September 27, 2012. The Paris auto sho
A new model of the Volkswagen Golf GTI is displayed on media day at the Paris Mondial de l'Automobile September 27, 2012. The Paris auto sho

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmaker Volkswagen has cut its internal 2012 sales target for Western Europe by up to 140,000 vehicles, a German daily said on Thursday, citing the group's works council head.

"The VW group is tentatively selling more cars this year than last year. But it is correct that it will be somewhat less than what was originally planned," Bernd Osterloh told Handelsblatt in a report due to be published on Friday.

"We are talking however of a maximum of 140,000 cars," he added.

The estimate is lower than the 250,000 figure reported last month by Handelsblatt, which the company had denied.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker and on course to overtake U.S. rival General Motors this year as the world's second-biggest carmaker, aims to sell 10 million vehicles by 2018, up from the 8.36 million recorded last year.

Handelsblatt said the company was also slashing its planned production capacity this year.

Citing a copy of a VW internal capacity planning report, the daily said management board member Michael Macht, in charge of production, had estimated up to 9.4 million vehicles would be built this year, down from the previous estimate of 9.7 million vehicles.

The figure includes those made by truck units MAN and Scania .

Volkswagen said last month it did not expect a significant rebound in the European auto market over the next one to two years.

Osterloh said the company would build more of the last generation of Golfs and would add additional shifts through the end of this year to continue pumping new Golf VI compacts into the European market.

"Because we are able to build the old Golfs up to the end of the year parallel to producing the new generation, we can therefore fight the price wars without putting the new Golf under pressure," Osterloh said.

Volkswagen marketing board member Christian Klinger told Handelsblatt the orders for the new Golf were above the company's expectations.

"The level of new orders is definitely pleasing," he added.

(Reporting By Marilyn Gerlach; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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