Volkswagen will overtake General Motors this year as the world's second largest automaker by volume, market research company RL Polk Germany has said.

According to Reuters, the Polk analysts said global production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles would fall 19%, or 2m units, to 52.8m vehicles this year - the lowest output since 1998.

While GM would see a 31% drop in production, VW would likely see output slide only about 15%, thanks in part to its low exposure to the US market.

"Volkswagen will therefore overtake ... GM and advance to become the new number two after Toyota ," it said in a statement.

Polk expects global car output to increase in 2010 again, with strong growth rates in the next two years that allow the market to achieve a record level of more than 70mn vehicles produced in 2012, the repor added.