Volkswagen Group is expected to retain its position as the world's largest car maker in 2017, increasing its lead over Toyota.

Internal sales estimates from VW Group, which includes the Audi, SEAT and Porsche marques, predict global sales of 10.7 million vehicles for last year, according to reports in the German media.

This would put it comfortably ahead of its Japanese rival's worldwide sales forecast for 10.35m vehicles in 2017.

These include the company's Daihatsu, Lexus and Hino marques. Despite the controversy around -"dieselgate" when VW admitted cheating pollution control tests - which cost the company tens of billions of euros in fines and compensation - the firm seems to have shrugged off reputational damage from the scandal with its cars still sought out by motorists.

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In 2016, VW Group's global sales were 10.3m, up 3.8 per cent on the previous year, when they took a hit from the emissions scandal, against Toyota's 10.2m for the same period.

The in-house estimates for VW seen by Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper mean that the Wolfsburg-based car manufacturer is destined to report revenue of €220bn ($368b) for 2017, a new record, and €3b up on the previous year.

Announcing third-quarter results in October, VW said that it was still facing fresh costs relating to dieselgate, warning that provisions relating to buying back and refitting 2.0 litre diesel cars in the US had been increased as the programme was proving "more comprehensive and technically more challenging than expected".

Frank Witter, board member for finance, noted that at that point in the company's financial year it had taken provisions of €14.5b relating to dieselgate. Witter added that "the diesel issue is nowhere near an end and would continue to necessitate great efforts".