A history of Volkswagen
Volkswagen, in German the “people’s car”, was founded in 1937 with the intention of providing the public with an affordable and practical vehicle for everyday needs.
The design of these everyday vehicles were set to contrast luxury and expensive models, which up until 1937 were the only option for people who wanted to buy a car.
The first Volkswagen model was actually designed by the already renowned Ferdinand Porsche, with the development of the chassis by Erwin Komenda. This model was designed using wind tunnels and due to that process the famous Beetle was born (pictured).
Before the war, sales were slow with only a handful of cars being produced before 1939; however, in 1946 the Volkswagen factory was manufacturing approximately 1,000 cars a month.
This figure is even more astounding as the company had strict post-war production guidelines and their factory was in disrepair due to damage, which was caused during the war.
During this period some of the most notable VW models were developed, including the 1949 Volkswagen Sedan (pictured), the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle, the 1958 Volkswagen Pickup truck, the 1300 Deluxe of 1966 and of course the 1967 VW Beetle.
In fact, during the fifties sales of the Beetle were unrivalled and then in the seventies Volkswagen sold a staggering 15,007,034 Beetles. This achievement made the model the most-produced road car ever manufactured and even more popular than the Model T Ford.
Then in 1974 one model became a global success and helped to secure the company’s future. This was the Volkswagen Golf, which became a pivotal model due to the fact that it was one of the first front engine and front-wheel drive hatchbacks. Since this time, this format has been adopted by other car manufacturers and it can even be said that it now dominates the industry.
Two decades on and Volkswagen launch the third-generation Golf, which was awarded the European Car of the Year in 1992.
Then in 1994 came the new Volkswagen Beetle (pictured), which was designed to be a “retro” themed concept car. However, the extent of the positive feedback from critics and car enthusiasts led to a production model being produced later that year.
More recently, in 2004 a survey by the United States Environmental Protection Agency revealed that four of the top ten most fuel-efficient vehicles in the US were manufactured by Volkswagen.
The company then started to take steps to make their vehicles even more efficient by limiting their use of diesel and by developing new propulsion methods that were more fuel efficient.
This move has lead to the development of the BlueMotion Volkswagen Polo, as well as proto-type electric and hybrid vehicles.
The all-electric Volkswagen E-Up! produces zero emissions and there are plans for it to go into production in 2013. There are also plans to develop hybrid versions of existing models, including the Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI (pictured).
It is these types of decisions that have helped to secure the fate of the company and, according to Volkswagen representatives, should make the company the world’s largest car manufacturer by 2018.