Volkswagen hits record sales in bid to top auto industry

Volkswagen has announced record sales figures for last year

FRANKFURT, Germany -- Volkswagen has announced record annual sales that could determine whether it keeps its crown as the world's largest automaker.

General Motors held the title for more than seven decades before losing it to Toyota in 2008 and no longer has a shot at the top spot after selling its European business and closing other money-losing operations.

Volkswagen underlines that it does not set being the sales leader as a business goal but focuses instead on its financial results. The company's diesel scandal, in which it rigged cars to cheat on pollution emissions tests, came amid a push under former CEO Martin Winterkorn to dethrone Toyota as No. 1 in sales. The company has since pivoted in the wake of the 2015 scandal toward electric cars as the industry seeks to meet tougher limits on greenhouse gases.