Volkswagen Group plans to invest 50.2 billion euros in the next three years to strengthen competitiveness and safeguard its future.

"Despite the challenging economic environment, we are investing more than ever before to reach our long-term goals,” said Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Europe's largest automotive group.

The plan covers investment for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 and includes, for the first time, newly consolidated brands MAN and Porsche.

VW wants to become not only the world's largest automaker but also the innovation and technology leader in the industry.

The company emphasized a heavy investment focus on more efficient vehicles, new powertrain technologies and sustainable production. It said two-thirds of the three-year investment total would go into these areas.

VW is performing well globally despite a weak European home market. In the first 10 months of 2011, it sold 10.2 pc more vehicles for a total of 7.50 million and even raised its sales in the struggling European market by 0.9 pc to 3.10 million units.

Citing the success of its multi-brand strategy, VW posted an operating profit of 8.8 billion euros in the first nine months of the year as sales jumped 24 pc to 144.23 billion euros. Operating profit slipped marginally from year-earlier levels.

The three-year investment plan, approved by the group's supervisory board Friday, includes 39.2 billion euros for property, plants and equipment.

Almost 25 billion euros of this total will go toward modernizing and extending the product range of all the VW Group brands. The focus will be on new vehicles, derivatives and successor models.

More than half of the total for property, plants and equipment is earmarked for the German home market.

"In this way, we are laying the foundations to ensure that our 27 German production facilities remain at the forefront of innovation and international competitiveness”, Winterkorn said. He reaffirmed that VW is committed to Germany when it comes to building cars.

The three-year plan also includes 10.6 billion in funds for development. This will cover new production facilities, introducing new models and developing alternative powertrains, VW said.

The company will invest 14.5 billion euros to expand Audi's car production in Mexico, expand Porsche's Leipzig plant and improve various other assembly facilities.

VW's joint ventures in China, which aren't consolidated, will benefit from group investments of 9.8 billion euros over three-year period.