The German group said that it sold a total of 9.73 million vehicles in 2013.
That figures covers all 12 of VW's brands, including truck makers MAN and Scania, a spokesman explained.
"These are the definitive of all our brands. They are comparable with our rivals, who also include heavy trucks," he said.
Toyota sold a total 9.98 million vehicles last year and General Motors a total 9.71 million.
Volkswagen owns the Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Porsche, VW, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, VW Commercial Vehicles, Ducati, MAN and Scania.
Analysts believe the group may achieve its long-term target of annual sales of more than 10 million vehicles ahead of its target date of 2018.