Volkswagen is famous for the iconic Beetle and more recently the Golf – with the Mark 1 and Mark 2 models now considered design classics. Find out more about the history of VW and how it has become one of the world’s largest car manufacturers.
Volkswagen – translation ’People’s car’ was born out of Germany’s desire for an affordable car for the masses. Created by Ferdinand Porsche, the first model built was the 1938 KdF Wagen, which later became the famous Volkswagen Beetle.
The VW group is the parent company of many other manufacturers including Audi, Skoda, Lamborghini and Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche and Seat.
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VW TouaregWhat is VW’s history?
The company Volkswagen was started life as the Käfer project under Nazi Germany in 1934.
VW was launched in 1937 as the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH“ - or the Company for the Preparation of the German Volkswagen Ltd.
Although its first car was the Beetle, during the Second World War VW only manufactured military vehicles and equipment.
After the war, the British instructed Volkswagen to build the Volkswagen saloon and the Type 1 (Käfer) model - the Beetle - and the Type 2 (Transporter) model added in 1950.
VW became a listed company in 1960 and in the 1970s and led to the birth of a new generation of Volkswagens with the Passat, Scirocco, Golf and Polo models.
The VW Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN.
The Volkswagen Group still has its headquarters in Wolfsburg. It is one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe.
VW employs over 660,000 people worldwide in 153 countries.
In 2020 VW sold 9.3 million vehicles and its share of the global car market was 13%
VW’s post-tax earnings were € 8.8bn
The company is committed to the Paris Agreement on climate protection and to becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2050
The company stopped producing VW Beetles in the late 1970s, but in 1998 Volkswagen rolled out the New Beetle, which owed much to the original Type 1 design, in 2012 the Beetle (A5) replaced the New Beetle, and the final A5 model was made in 2019
In 1976, VW unveiled the first Golf GTI. It was originally planned as a limited series of 5,000 but the positive response to the car meant the subsequent manufacture of millions to the present day.