* Passenger car market seen stable in 2010

* Now global number three but closing gap

* German wage deal getting nearer, could come next week

* VW shares up 0.4 pct, outperform peers .SXAP

Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) expects global car markets to stagnate next year, a top executive said on Wednesday, calling on staff to help the world's third-largest automaker catch the sector leaders.

In our current planning for 2010 we are assuming a similar sales volume level for the overall passenger car market as in 2009, the company quoted Francisco Garcia Sanz as telling a works council meeting at its Wolfsburg headquarters.

Worldwide we are still number three by unit sales but have really closed the gap with the leaders. That should spur us on to shift up a gear, especially in the current situation.

Group sales at Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, trailed Toyota Motor (7203.T) and General Motors [GM.UL] by less than 300,000 cars in the first half of the year.

Separately, momentum was growing for VW to strike a wage deal with more than 90,000 staff in six western German plants.

Our goal is to negotiate a result on Monday, a union spokesman said.

At the works council meeting in Wolfsburg, works council head Bernd Osterloh decribed VW's current pay offer as not bad but called for improvements.

VW has accepted union IG Metall's demand for a 4.2 percent pay hike but wants to pay part of it only after seven months given the tough economic conditions.

(Reporting by Michael Shields and Jan Schwartz)