Volkswagen is one of the most successful automakers in the history of the car industry. The word Volkswagen means “People’s Car” in German, which is a suitable name, since the German automaker created one of the most mass-produced models in history, the VW Beetle. When it comes to the segment of reliable and affordable cars, Volkswagen models are leaders in the markets of all continents. Yet, the well-known company offers some of the most exclusive vehicles, which are as far as you can get from a regular production vehicle. Today, Volkswagen is one of the most well-known automobile brands; the big part of its success comes from the brand recognition and familiarity.
1. Our story begins in the city of Bern, Germany in 1933. The German chancellor Adolf Hitler, a representative of Daimler-Benz, Jakob Verlin, and the famous inventor and developer, Ferdinand Porsche had a meeting concerning the future of the German automobile industry. Chancellor asked the German vehicle manufacturers to develop a “suitable small car”. Hitler advocated for the development of an inexpensive and reliable car of decent quality, which should be affordable for every working person. Eventually, in 1934, Porsche submitted the best design and received the contract. The new car was named accordingly: “The People’s Car” (In German: “Volks-Wagen”).
2. There is a reason, why Ferdinand Porsche is considered a legendary constructor. It took him only ten months to develop a prototype, which met all the requirements. The new car was named Volkswagen Type 1, but it is better known as Volkswagen Beetle.
3. Volkswagen Beetle became the best-selling car in history during the following decades. It was manufactured and marketed by the German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003. According to official statistics, 21,549,464 VW Beetles left the factory between 1938 and 2003.
4. The demand for the Volkswagen Beetle was growing very fast. By 1955, Volkswagen was offered in more than 150 countries all around the world.
5. Volkswagen is a popular choice when it comes to the prestigious The European car of the Year Award. In 1992, Volkswagen Golf was awarded with the title the European car of the year; in 2010, the Volkswagen Polo was chosen as the winner of The European car of the year award; in 2013, the next Generation Volkswagen Golf claimed the same title.
6. By 1950, Volkswagen produced over 100,000 cars. By 1951, the number was 500,000; and on August 5, 1955, the German automaker held a solemn ceremony to mark the release of the one-millionth Volkswagen.
7. The Volkswagen Group actively participates in different business activities. For example, the German automobile giant produces large-diameter diesel marine engines, turbochargers, gas and steam turbines, compressors and chemical reactors.
8. Nowadays, Volkswagen has 119 factories in 20 European countries and 11 countries of America, Asia and Africa. Every day, 592,586 employees of the company produce almost 41,000 cars and work in other business areas all around the world. Volkswagen Group sells cars in 153 countries.
9. The popular Volkswagen Golf is named after the Gulf Stream. This model gave its name to an entire class of vehicles. The automotive class, known as a compact car or small family car is often referred to as the “golf class”.
10. Many Volkswagen models are named after oceanic currents and prevailing winds. The model names like Golf, Scirocco, Santana, Passat, Vento, Corrado, Jetta are all connected to different natural phenomena. Next time, while giving a ride to your friends in your VW Passat; do not hesitate to tell them, that “Passat” is German term for the trade winds.
11. The Volkswagen Beetle attracts the attention of many enthusiasts, eager to set a record in the Guinness book of records. In particular, we often hear about one type of achievement: the maximum number of people who crammed into the Beetle. For a long time, the maximum number of people in a single Beetle was thirty-six. Eventually, a specially trained team of climbers beat this record. The new record was astonishing; this team managed to squeeze fifty-seven passengers in a single car. The secret was to use every inch of the vehicle: when there was no more room inside the passenger compartment, many of them climbed on the roof.
12. In 1967, Volkswagen sold three VW Beetles on the island of Nauru, which happened to be three times as much as a year earlier. This was a great opportunity for the advertisement, and Volkswagen gladly took it. The marketing department of the company did not fail to mention that sales increased by 200% comparing with the previous year.
13. Interestingly, the Volkswagen Beetle became the first foreign mass produced vehicle to be imported to the United States market.
14. Eventually, the German company modified or replaced 5002 out of 5008 elements in the Volkswagen Beetle. The only thing that remained unchanged is its signature body style.
15. The designer Franz Xavier Reimspiess is an author of the official logo of Volkswagen. The emblem consists of two interlocking letter V and W, united in a monogram. This simple, yet memorable design represents reliability and strong character of the German automaker. This classical logo is currently one of the most recognizable logos in the world. With minor changes, the emblem has served the company throughout all its history.
16. Volkswagen operates a number of subsidiary companies in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and China. Those companies produce vehicles, which are very different from Volkswagen cars, made in Europe. The model line-up of those enterprises consisting of vehicles like Gol, Parati and Santana, is created on the chassis of the models Golf and Passat of past generations. The Volkswagen Gol, designed and assembled in Brazil, was presented to the European market under the name Volkswagen Pointer.
17. The history of Volkswagen would not be complete without the VW Type 2, a legendary panel van. This vehicle, often called “hippie van” of “hippie waggon”, was easy to repair, required low maintenance, and was just good enough for the task. Volkswagen minibus covered with unusual flower painting became the classical image from the 1960’s. Being a symbol of the decade, it represents freedom and trawling lifestyle, embraced by the youth of that period. In addition, the VW Type 2 was the predecessor of the famous Volkswagen Transporter.
18. The VW Group is one of world’s biggest multinational corporations. It is ranked seventh in the list of the world’s largest companies. The list of its subsidiaries includes twelve brands from seven countries. Volkswagen Group sells passenger cars under the Bugatti, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Škoda and SEAT marques; motorcycles under the Ducati brand; and commercial vehicles under the marques Scania, MAN, and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
19. It comes as no surprise, that the German automaker knows how to make a good engine. The 1.4-litre TSI Twincharger engine by Volkswagen was chosen numerous times by the international jury of motoring journalists as the best engine of the year. No other engine was nominated more often than Volkswagen TSI in the prestigious International Engine of the Year Awards.
20. The market for pickup trucks is traditionally dominated by Japanese automakers. This class is not very popular among European motorists. Accordingly, it is not very often that European automakers choose to compete with Japanese in this class. In 2010, Volkswagen took a risk and decided to produce its own pickup truck. The new vehicle was named Amarok, which means “wolf” in Inuit language. Though intended mainly for the European market, the Amarok was designed and developed by the Argentinian division of Volkswagen. Eventually, the risk paid off, since the new pickup was warmly received by the public and enjoyed an enviable popularity with the motorists.