(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG expanded its U.S. auto-loan unit's central customer-service office to increase the work force 28 percent as part of a push by Europe's biggest carmaker to reach the top spot in global vehicle deliveries.
The company spent $10 million upgrading the main office of VW Credit Inc. in Libertyville, Illinois, and plans to create 150 jobs there through 2018, VW said today.
The manufacturer has set 2018 as the deadline for overtaking Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors as the world's biggest carmaker.
It's targeting annual U.S. sales by then of 1 million VW and Audi vehicles, 72 percent more than last year's figure.
Deliveries of those brands in the country jumped 31 percent in 2012, propelled by the U.S.-made version of VW's Passat sedan.
The lending unit's expansion, "coupled with increased U.S. sales among all our brands in 2012, aligns with Volkswagen's ambitious growth strategy," said Tim Mahoney, head of marketing at the Volkswagen of America unit.
Volkswagen said last month that it will build its best-selling Golf hatchback in Mexico for sale in North and South America. It opened the Passat plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2011.
The current workforce at the Libertyville site totals about 530 people, VW said.
The project, which added 30,000 square feet (2,700 square meters) of space, began in April 2012. VW Credit increased the number of new loan and contracts by 28 percent to 404,947 last year, the unit said.
The number of current contracts rose 13 percent to a record 950,873 agreements, with total assets jumping 18 percent to $23 billion.