In this Volkswagen history, we briefly look at the origin, models, information, and facts about the Volkswagen car brand.
Volkswagen is a flagship brand of German automotive manufacturing company Volkswagen AG, globally known as the Volkswagen Group.
In automaking, the Volkswagen brand stands as one of the best and most profitable brands for the Volkswagen Group.
In more than 80 years of existence, the brand has risen to become a dominant player, producing cars that have helped secure its place among the world’s best automakers.
The brand is known for its iconic Volkswagen Beetle car, widely known in English-speaking countries as the “Bug.”
Volkswagen’s creative approach to car design and the adoption of cutting edge technologies in its vehicles have furthered helped secured the brand’s mark as a dominant player in the automaking industry.
The brand that was among the plethora of companies who effectively and efficiently transitioned from the analog age of the 20th century to the 21st century has been embroiled in several controversies that have seen the company heavily fined.
Volkswagen Brand Information
In the early 1930s, cars were luxury items for Germans, as just one German out of 50 Germans owned a car.
As a result of this, several carmakers saw the potentials in manufacturing a car that the greater population could afford.
Thus many Germans, including eminent personalities like the famous inventor and engineer Béla Barényi and Ferdinand Porsche (Founder of Porsche), got involved in producing a car that could be afforded by most Germans.
In 1934, leader of the Nazi Party and Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler, ordered that a “people car,” a basic car capable of transporting five individuals (two adults and three children) which would travel at 62 mph should be manufactured and sold at 990 Reichsmarks (equivalent to US$396 IN 1938).
It soon became clear that the private industry could not achieve this.
Thus, Hitler decided to sponsor all state-owned companies who set out to manufacture the car using the design made by Ferdinand Porsche and also suggestions by Hitler.
As a result, the German Labour Front birthed Volkswagen.
On May 28, 1937, the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labour Front) established Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH (“Company for the Preparation of the German Volkswagen Ltd.”)
From 1938, prototypes of the “people’s car” known as the “KdF-Wagen” emerged.
A year later, precisely September 1938, the company was renamed Volkswagenwerk GmbH.
Soon, the Volkswagen “Beetle” design was produced. By 1939, the car was being produced in “Stadt des KdF-Wagens,” now known as Wolfsburg.
When the first world war began, car production began focusing on military vehicles.
As revealed in 1998, 15,000 slaves were used in military vehicle production during the war, about 80% of the factory’s workforce.
After the war, the factory was captured by American forces who handed it over to their British counterparts.
It was thus under the control of Major Ivan Hirst, REME, a British military officer who was the civilian-military governor under which the control of the town fell.
As indicated by the terms of the Potsdam Agreement, since the factory was used for military vehicle production, it was to be destroyed, but the actions of Major Ivan Hirst saved the factory.
Hirst began manufacturing cars from the factory but was met with difficulties and doubts.
The defeated Nazi staff were unresponsive, but he tackled his issue by ordering from his military uniform back from Britain.
When he wore it as recommended by his German assistant Heinrich Nordhoff, the Nazi staff who were conditioned to obey military authority began following orders.
The head of British Rootes Group, William Edward Rootes, predicted that the Hirst car-producing venture would fail, but after Rootes had gone bankrupt, Volkswagen manufactured the Rootes’s Hillman Avenger in Argentina in the 1980s.
After the war, the town name was changed to Wolfsburg, and the company was renamed Volkswagen.
From 1948, Volkswagen thus began manufacturing various cars and began spreading its tentacles to various parts of the world.
The success of the Volkswagen group saw the establishment of multiple subsidiaries like Volkswagen of America.
The cars manufactured by Volkswagen from 1948 down to the 21st century changed with the advancement in technology.
This is evidenced by the focus of the automotive company on electric cars in 2017.
Volkswagen Logo History, Meaning & Facts
The Volkswagen logo was first designed in 1938. It has been modified twice in 1996 and 2000.
The logo comprises a “V,” which stands for Volks, meaning “people,” and a “W,” which stands for Wagen, meaning “car.”
The blue color speaks of class, excellence, and reliability, while the white stands for charm, nobility, and purity.
The designer of the Volkswagen logo is a controversial subject. Some insist Franz Xaver Reimspiess designed the logo while others believe that Martin Greyer designed the logo.
Nikolai Borg, the renowned graphics designer designed the Volkswagen emblem.
Interesting Volkswagen Facts
- Volkswagen means the “people’s car,” and the company currently uses “Volkswagen” as it’s an international advertising slogan.
- The company owes its existence to British Army officer Major Ivan Hirst, REME.
Volkswagen Models List
The following is a complete list of all approved Volkswagen models, including their years of production.
- Arteon (2017–present)
- Beetle (1938–2018)
- Beetle Cabriolet (1949–2018)
- Eos (2006–2015)
- Fox (2006–2012)
- Golf (1974–2020)
- Golf Cabriolet (2011–2015)
- Golf Estate (1993–present)
- Golf Plus (2009–2014)
- Golf SV (2014–present)
- e-Golf (2014–2020)
- Jetta (2011–2018)
- Passat (1973–present)
- Passat Estate (2010–present)
- Phaeton (2003–2015)
- Polo (1975–present)
- Scirocco (1974–2018)
- Sharan (1995–present)
- Tiguan (2008–present)
- Tiguan Allspace (2018–present)
- Touran (2003–present)
- Touareg (2003–present)
- T-Cross (2019–present)
- T-Roc (2017–present)
- T-Roc Cabriolet (2020–present)
- up! (2016–2020)
- e-up! (2014–2020)
- Volkswagen CC (2012–2017)
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