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Volkswagen (Ger. "people's car") or VW for short, is an automobile manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, Germany in the State of Lower Saxony.
Origins in 1930s Germany
Though the origins of the company date back to the 1930s, the design for the car that would become known as the "Volkswagen Beetle" date back even further, as a pet project by car designer Ferdinand Porsche (1875–1951). Adolf Hitler's desire that almost anybody should be able to afford a car coincided with this design—although much of this design was inspired by the advanced Tatra cars of Hans Ledwinka.
Hitler had a keen interest in cars but was not particularly technically knowledgeable himself and demanded Porsche make changes to the original design to include better fuel efficiency (to make it more economical for the working man), reliability, ease of use, and economically efficient repairs and parts. The intention was that ordinary Germans would buy the car by means of a savings scheme ("Fünf Mark die Woche mußt Du sparen, willst Du im eigenen Wagen fahren" — "Save five Marks a week, if you desire to drive your own car" which around 336,000 people eventually paid into. Volkswagen honored its savings agreements after World War II; Ford, which had a similar "coupon" savings system, reportedly did not. Prototypes of the car called the KdF-Wagen (German: Kraft durch Freude = "strength through joy"), appeared from 1936 onwards (the first cars had been produced in Stuttgart). The car already had its distinctive round shape and air-cooled, flat-four, rear-mounted engine, features similar to the Tatra. The VW car was just one of many KdF programs which included things such as tours and outings.
Erwin Komenda, the longstanding Porsche chief designer, developed the car body of the prototype, which was recognizably the Beetle we know today. It was one of the first to be designed with the aid of a wind tunnel; unlike the Chrysler Airflow, it would be a success.
The new factory in the new town of KdF-Stadt, now called Wolfsburg, purpose-built for the factory workers, only produced a handful of cars by the time war started in 1939. None were actually delivered to holders of the completed saving stamp books, though one Type 1 Cabriolet was presented to Hitler on his fiftieth birthday, in 1938.
War meant production turned to military vehicles, the Type 81 Kübelwagen utility vehicle (VW's most common wartime model) and the amphibious Schwimmwagen.
1945: British Army and Ivan Hirst, unclear future
The company owes its postwar existence largely to one man, British Army officer Major Ivan Hirst (1916–2000). In April 1945, KdF-Stadt and its heavily bombed factory were captured by the Americans, and handed to the British to administer. The factory was placed under the control of Oldham-born Hirst. At first, the plan was to use it for military vehicle maintenance. Since it had been used for military production, and had been a "political animal" (Hirst's words) rather than a commercial enterprise, the equipment was in time intended to be salvaged as war reparations. Hirst painted one of the factory's cars green and demonstrated it to British Army headquarters. Short of light transport, in September 1945 the British Army was persuaded to place a vital order for 20,000. The first few hundred cars went to personnel from the occupying forces, and to the German Post Office. By 1946 the factory was producing 1,000 cars a month, a remarkable feat considering the factory was still in disrepair: the damaged roof and windows meant rain stopped production; the steel to make the cars had to be bartered for new vehicles.
The car and its town changed their Second World War-era names to Volkswagen and Wolfsburg respectively, and production was increasing. It was still unclear what was to become of the factory. It was offered to representatives from the British, American and French motor industries. Famously, all rejected it. After an inspection of the plant, Sir William Rootes, head of the British Rootes Group, told Hirst the project would fail within two years, and that the car "is quite unattractive to the average motorcar buyer, is too ugly and too noisy ... If you think you're going to build cars in this place, you're a bloody fool, young man." (In a bizarre twist of fate, Volkswagen would manufacture a locally built version of Rootes' Hillman Avenger in Argentina in the 1980s, long after Rootes went bust at the hands of Chrysler in 1978—the Volkswagen Beetle outliving the Avenger by over 30 years).
Ford representatives were equally critical: the car was "not worth a damn." Henry Ford II, the son of Edsel Ford, did reportedly look at the possibility of taking over the VW factory but dismissed the idea as soon as he looked up Wolfsburg on the map. . . and found it to be too close for comfort to the East German border. In France Citroën started the 2CV on a similar marketing concept. In Italy it was the Fiat 500.
1948–1974: Icon For German Regeneration
From 1948, Volkswagen became a very important element, symbolically and economically, of West German regeneration. Heinrich Nordhoff (1899–1968), a former senior manager at Opel who had overseen civilian and military vehicle production in the 1930s and 1940s, was recruited to run the factory in 1948. In 1949 Hirst left the company, now re-formed as a trust controlled by the West German government. Apart from the introduction of the Volkswagen Type 2 commercial vehicle (van, pickup and camper) and the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia sports car, Nordhoff pursued the one-model policy until shortly before his death in 1968.
Volkswagens were first exhibited and sold in the United States in 1949. On its entry to the U.S. market, the VW was briefly sold as a "Victory Wagon". Volkswagen of America was formed in April 1955 to standardize sales and service in the U.S. Production of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle (German: 'Käfer', US: 'Bug', Mexican: 'Vocho', 'Vochito', French: 'Coccinelle', Portuguese: 'Carocha', Brazilian: 'Fusca',Colombian & Venezuelan: 'Escarabajo' Danish: 'Boble, Folkevogn', Polish: 'Garbus', Croatian: 'Buba', Swedish: 'Bubbla, Folka') increased dramatically over the years, the total reaching one million in 1954. Despite the fact it was almost universally known as the Beetle, it was never officially known as such, instead referred to as the Type 1. The first reference to the name Beetle occurred in U.S. advertising in 1968, but it was not until 1998 and the Volkswagen Golf-based New Beetle would the name be adopted by Wolfsburg.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, although the car was becoming outdated, American exports, innovative advertising and a growing reputation for reliability helped production figures to surpass the levels of the previous record holder, the Ford Model T. By 1973 total production was over 16 million.
VW expanded their product line in 1967 with the introduction of several Type 3 models, which were essentially body style variations (Fastback, Notchback, Squareback) based on Type 1 mechanical underpinnings, and again in 1969 with the relatively unpopular Type 4 (also known as the 411 and 412) models, which differed substantially from previous models with the notable introduction of unibody construction, a fully automatic transmission, electronic fuel injection, and a sturdier powerplant. Volkswagen added a "Super Beetle" (the Type 113) to its lineup in 1971. The Type 113 differed from the standard Beetle in its use of McPherson strut front suspension instead of torsion bars. The McPherson suspension added valuable trunk space and widened the front end. Despite the Super Beetle's popularity with Volkswagen customers, purists preferred the standard Beetle with its less pronounced nose and its original torsion bar suspension. In 1973, Volkswagen introduced the military-themed Thing (Type 181) in America, recalling the wartime Type 81. The military version was produced for the NATO-era German army (Bundeswehr) during the cold war years of 1970 to 1979. The US Thing version only lasted two years, 1973 and 1974, due at least in part to Ralph Nader's automobile safety campaigns.
1974: From Beetle to Golf
Volkswagen was in serious trouble by the end of the 1960s. The Type 3 and Type 4 models had been comparative flops, and the NSU-based K70 also failed to woo buyers. The company knew that Beetle production had to end one day, but the conundrum of replacing it had been a never-ending nightmare. The key to the problem was the 1964 acquisition of Audi/Auto-Union. The Ingolstadt-based firm had the necessary expertise in front wheel drive and water-cooled engines that Volkswagen so desperately needed to produce a credible Beetle successor. Audi influences paved the way for this new generation of Volkswagens, known as the Volkswagen Polo, which actually was rebaged Audi 50, Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Passat.
Production of the Beetle at the Wolfsburg factory switched to the VW Golf in 1974, marketed in the United States and Canada as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the 1970s and as the Golf in the 1980s. This was a car unlike its predecessor in most significant ways, both mechanically as well as visually (its angular styling was designed by the Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro). Its design followed trends for small family cars set by the 1959 Mini and 1972 Renault 5—the Golf had a transversely mounted, water-cooled engine in the front, driving the front wheels, and had a hatchback, a format that has dominated the market segment ever since. Beetle production continued in smaller numbers at other German factories (Essen) until 1978, but mainstream production shifted to Brazil and Mexico.
From 1970s to present
While Volkswagen's range of cars soon became similar to that of other large European car-makers, the Golf has been the mainstay of the Volkswagen lineup since its introduction, and the mechanical basis for several other cars of the company. There have been five generations of the Volkswagen Golf, the first of which was produced from the summer of 1974 until the end of 1983, sold as the Rabbit in the United States and Canada and as the Caribe in Latin America. Its chassis also spawned the Volkswagen Scirocco coupe and Volkswagen Jetta sedan. The production numbers of the first generation Golf has continued to grow annually in South Africa with only slight modifications to the interior, engine and chassis. The second generation Golf/Jetta sedan ran from late 1983 to late 1991. In 1991, Volkswagen launched the third-generation Golf, garnering the European Car of the Year for 1992 (the previous two generations were nominated but lost to the Citroën CX in 1975 and the Fiat Uno in 1984). The sedan version of the Golf was badged Vento in Europe (but remained Jetta in the USA, where its popularity outstripped the Golf).
The fourth incarnation of the Golf arrived in late 1997, its chassis spawned a host of other cars within the Volkswagen group—the Volkswagen Bora (the sedan, still called Jetta in the USA), VW New Beetle, SEAT Toledo, SEAT Leon, Audi A3, Audi TT and Skoda Octavia. However, it was beaten into third place for the 1998 European Car of the Year award by the winning Alfa Romeo 156 and runner-up Audi A6. The current Volkswagen Golf was launched in late 2003, came runner-up to the Fiat Panda in the 2004 European Car of the Year, and has so far spawned the new generation SEAT Toledo, Skoda Octavia and Audi A3 hatchback ranges as well as a new mini-MPV, the SEAT Altea. The fifth-generation Golf is now available in Europe, and the GTI boasts a 2.0 L Turbo-charged direct injection engine. When it goes on sale in the U.S. and Canada in 2006, the fifth-generation Golf will once again bear the Rabbit nameplate. The fifth-generation Jetta, and the performance version, the GLI, are currently available in the United States and Canada.
The other main models have been the Polo, a smaller car than the Golf, and the larger Passat for the segment above the Golf. As of 2005, there have been four incarnations of the Polo: Mk 1 (1976), Mk 2 (1981, facelifted 1990), Mk 3 (1994, facelifted 1999) and the current Mk 4 (2002). The Scirocco and Corrado were both Golf-based coupés.
In 1998, Volkswagen launched the J Mays-designed the Concept One, a "retro"-themed car with a resemblance to the original Beetle but based on the Golf chassis. Its genesis was secret and in opposition to VW management, who felt it was too backward-looking. Management could not deny the positive public response to the concept car and gave the green-light to its development as the New Beetle. It has been quite popular in the USA, less so in Europe.
In 2002, Volkswagen announced two models taking it into market segments new to the company: the Phaeton ("Fay-ton") luxury car, and the Touareg ("Two-ah-regg") SUV. The Phaeton was critically acclaimed but not well received in the marketplace. In 2005 VW announced its discontinuance in the US market for fall 2006, mainly due to the disappointing sales there and the need for major investments in the car's line of engines (W12 and V8) to meet new emission requirements. Also, Volkswagen has faced harsh criticism that the Phaeton had used up money that was better invested in their smaller cars. After rising significantly between 1998 and 2002, VW's North American sales began to fall sharply leading to a 2005 loss of roughly $1 billion (U.S.) for its operations in the U.S. and Canada. The reliability of the company's cars appears to bear some of the responsibility for this situation. By the early 2000s, its models sat near the bottom of Consumer Reports and J.D. Power reliability rankings.
Volkswagen is still in better position in North American market than it was in the early nineties, when its U.S. sales plummeted to 49,533 units in 1993. Despite its current reliability problems, the company hopes to remain competitive in the U.S. and Canada with several new models. Ahead of the new Rabbit, the fifth-generation GTI is already on sale in North America and has generated interest among the VW faithful with its "Make friends with your fast" and "Unpimp My Ride" advertising campaigns. And although its reliability remains to be determined, the GTI was named by Consumer Reports as the top sporty car under $25,000. Volkswagen is also adding the Eos, a sport coupe with a convertible hardtop, to its U.S./Canadian lineup as well. All of these cars are being made in Germany for the North American market instead of at VW's South American factory, where Golfs and Jettas for the United States and Canada have been made in the past.
Power and Associates ranked VW 35th out of 37 bands in its initial quality survey. Attempts to enter a new market segment also compromised Volkswagen's standing in North America. In 2002, Volkswagen announced the debut of its Phaeton luxury car, which was critically acclaimed but not well received in the marketplace. VW announced its discontinuance in the U.S. market for the 2007 model year due to the disappointing sales.
On July 15, 2008 however, Volkswagen announced that they will construct an automobile assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This plant will produce cars specifically designed for North America beginning with the New Midsize Sedan, which will be more competitive with North American market leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2011 and is expected to end more than five years of losses in the world's largest auto market.
Volkswagen currently offers a number of its vehicles with an advanced, light duty diesel engine known as the TDI (Turbo Direct Injection). Whilst extremely popular in the European market, light duty diesels do not yet enjoy the same wide acceptance in the American marketplace, despite increased fuel economy and performance comparable to gasoline engines due to turbocharging. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 4 of the 10 most fuel efficient vehicles available for sale in the U.S. in 2004 were powered by Volkswagen diesel engines. They were a three-way tie for 8th (TDI Beetle, TDI Golf, TDI Jetta) and 9th, the TDI Jetta Wagon. Sales of light duty diesel engine technology are increasing as gasoline prices rise. Products such as the Toyota Prius might have highlighted the economy of non-gasoline engines, but in reality, a Volkswagen TDI engine is often found to be more efficient than the Prius on the highway (although not so when driving in the city). In addition, all VAG TDI diesel engines produced since 1996 can be driven on 100% biodiesel.
Current Volkswagen Models
|Model||MSRP (Cost in USD)||Official Model Site|
|New Beetle/New Beetle Convertible||$17,180/$22,120||/|
- Golf/Golf Variant/Golf Plus
- New Beetle/New Beetle Cabriolet
- Passat/Passat Variant
- Golf/Golf Variant/Golf Plus
- New Beetle/New Beetle Cabriolet
- Passat Lingyu
- Santana 3000
- Passat/Passat Variant
- Fox/CrossFox/Suran (SpaceFox)
- Gol/Parati/Saveiro (Pointer)
- New Beetle/New Beetle Cabriolet
- Passat/Passat Variant
- Golf/Golf Variant/Golf Plus
- New Beetle/New Beetle Cabriolet
- Passat/Passat Variant
Cult Status Of The Beetle
Like its competitors, the Mini and the Citroën 2CV, the original-shape Volkswagen Beetle long outlasted predictions of its lifespan. More so than those cars, it maintains a very strong following worldwide, being regarded, like the Delorean, as something of a "cult" car since its 1960s association with the hippie movement. Currently, there is a wide array of clubs that are concerned with the beetle. The fans are quite diverse. Looks include the resto-look, Cal Look, German-look, resto-Cal Look, buggies, Baja bugs, old school, ratlook, etc. Part of their cult status is attributed to being one of a few cars with an air-cooled, horizontally-opposed engine design and the consequent ease of repair and modification as opposed to the more conventional and technically complex watercooled engine design. The original design flat-four boxer design had less than 200 moving parts.
In the late 1990s, a group of Volkswagen enthusiasts formed "Volkswagenism", a satirical religion based off of owners devoted loyalty to the beetle, and the company. Under the leadership of founder Jason Gaudet, this "religion" has gained notariety through radio, television and print coverage from around the world... turning ordinary fans of the car into Volkswagenist.
By 2002 over 21 million Volkswagen Type 1s had been produced.
On July 21, 2003, the last Type 1 rolled off the production line in Puebla, Puebla, Mexico. It was car number 21,529,464, and was immediately shipped off to the company's museum in Wolfsburg, Germany. In true Mexican fashion, a mariachi band serenaded the last car in the 68-year-old history. The last car was nicknamed El Rey, which is Spanish for "The King". The last 3000 Type 1's were called the "Ultima Edicion" or the last edition.
In the United States, most notably in California, Volkswagen enthusiasts frequent large Volkswagen-themed car shows, especially in the summer months. Many of these shows feature camping, a car show called a "show 'n' shine", drag racing, parts swap meet, raffles, and other events. Die-hard and loyal "VW-heads" attend these shows regularly, often travelling 500 miles or more to attend their favorite event.
In the winter, a group of drivers of the "split window" bus model (1951-1967 Microbuses, trucks, campers, and panel vans) drive from Guerneville, CA, to Mt. Shasta CA, entirely on unpaved jeep roads. This event is called the "Mt. Shasta Snow Trip Challenge" and is a good example of VW enthusiasts' trust in the durability of their 40-plus-year-old cars.
Relationship with Porsche, and the "Volkswagen Law"
Volkswagen has always had a close relationship with Porsche, the Zuffenhausen-based sports car manufacturer founded in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche, the original Volkswagen designer. The first Porsche car, the Porsche 64 of 1938, used many components from the Volkswagen Beetle. The 1948 Porsche 356 continued using many Volkswagen components, including a tuned engine, gearbox and suspension.
The two companies continued their collaboration in 1969 to make the VW-Porsche 914 and 914-6, whereby the 914-6 had a 6-cylinder Porsche engine, and the standard 914 had a 4-cylinder Volkswagen engine, and in 1976 with the Porsche 912E (USA only), and the Porsche 924, which used many Audi components and was built at an Audi Neckarsulm factory. Most 944s also were built there, although they used far fewer VW components.
In September 2005, Porsche announced it would increase its 5% stake in Volkswagen to 20% at a cost of €3 billion, with the intention that the combined stakes of Porsche and the government of Lower Saxony would ensure that any hostile takeover by foreign investors would be impossible. Speculated suitors included DaimlerChrysler, BMW, and Renault. In July 2006, Porsche increased their ownership again to 25.1%.
On February 13, 2007 Advocate General D%C3%A1maso Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer ruled that a German law preventing any shareholder in Volkswagen from executing more than 20% of the total voting rights in the firm was illegally restricting the flow of capital in Europe. This again opened the possibility of a hostile takeover of VW and so on 26 March of the same year Porsche took its holding of Volkswagen shares to 30.9%. Porsche formally announced in a press statement that it did not intend to take over Volkswagen, but intended the move to avoid a competitor taking a large stake and to stop hedge funds from dismantling VW. As expected, on October 22, 2007 the European Court of Justice ruled in agreement with Ruiz-Jarabo and the law was struck down. On October 26, 2008, Porsche finally revealed its plan to assume control of VW. As of that day, it held 42.6 percent of Volkswagen's ordinary shares and stock options on another 31.5 percent. Combined with the state of Lower Saxony's 20.1% stake, this left only 5.8% of shares on the market most of which were held by index funds who could not legally sell. Hedge funds desperate to cover their short positions forced Volkswagen stock above one thousand euros per share, briefly making it the world's largest company by market capitalization on October 28, 2008.
On 6th of May 2009 the two companies decided to join together, in a merger.
On August 13, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft’s Supervisory Board signed the agreement to create an integrated automotive group with Porsche led by Volkswagen. Volkswagen will initially take a 42% stake in Porsche AG by the end of 2009, and it will also see the family shareholders selling the automobile trading business of Porsche Holding Salzburg to Volkswagen. 
Partnership with Suzuki
On Dec 9th 2009, Volkswagen and Suzuki announced that it has "reached a common understanding to establish a close longterm strategic partnership" with Suzuki Motor Corporation. The union means VW will buy 19.9% of Suzuki, then Suzuki will spend half the money they just received from Volkswagen reciprocating by buying VW shares.
Beyond that, Suzuki gains access to VW technology while Volkswagen gets a boost in its small car development as well as access to Suzuki's dealer network in India and Southeast Asia. Suzuki and VW will remain independent, but rumour suggests that VW might increase its stake to 33% or more at some point down the road, which could shift the balance of power.
In 1966 Volkswagen left the racing starting grid when Formula Vee — circuit racing with cars built from easily available Volkswagen Beetle parts — took off in Europe. It proved very popular as a low-cost route into formula racing.
In 1971 Volkswagen moved on to the more powerful Formula Super V, which became famous for hothousing new talent. In the 11 years it ran, until 1982, it produced a stable of world-famous Formula I drivers — names like Niki Lauda, Jochen Mass, Nelson Piquet, Jochen Rindt and Keke Rosberg. Volkswagen also notched up several victories and the championship in Formula 3.
In 1976 Volkswagen enter the under 2000cc Trans Am class with the Scirocco and they won there class outright.
In 1981, now based in Hanover and renamed Volkswagen Motorsport, VW racing took a new direction into rallying. With the launch of the first generation Golf, the sports department masterminded the development of rally cars. At home and abroad, the Golf GTI, in the capable hands of Sweden's Per Eklund, Frenchman, Jean-Luc Therier and the Finn, Pentii Airikkala, took the racing world by storm.
1986 — VW's 20th anniversary in motor racing in 1986 was a double celebration when Sweden's Kenneth Eriksson won Volkswagen Motorsport the title of Group A World Rally Champions.
From 1997, the company was a big name in national rallying in the UK, taking the British Rally Championship crown with the Golf GTI, and again, two years later with the Volkswagen Golf GTI MkIV. The final chapters in Volkswagen Racing UK's rallying success story were the 'one-make' Castrol Polo Challenge, and the thrilling Volkswagen Polo GTI 'Super 1600' in 2001.
In 2000, Volkswagen starts a one make racing cup with the newly released to Europe New Beetle called the ADAC New Beetle Cup this takes over the ADAC Lupo Cup which was racing since 1998.
In 2001, the department was renamed Volkswagen Racing and since then has concentrated all its efforts on developing its circuit racing championship, the Volkswagen Racing Cup.
In 2003, VW replace the ADAC New Beetle Cup with the newly released Polo to become the ADAC Polo Cup.
In 2004, VW Commercial vehicles enter the European Truck racing series with the Titan series truck it became Back to Back champion for the 2004 and 2005 series.
The Dakar In 1980 Volkswagen competed in the Paris to Dakar Rally with the Audi developed Iltis, It came 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 9th overall.
In 2003, Volkswagen enters the Dakar once more to reclaim 1st spot and help promote the Touareg.
In 2003, the Hannover based team starts with a 2WD buggy named Tarek. It places 6th outright but took 1st in the 2WD and Diesel class.
Volkswagen enlists the great Dakar Champion Jutta Kleinschmidt the 1st female to win the Dakar in 2001 with to help design and compete a Dakar Racer.
In 2004, VW enters the newly developed Race-Touareg T2 which is similar to the Mitsubishi Pajero Evo Racers. The Race Touareg finishs 6th overall and 2nd in Diesel class.
In 2005, a updated Race-Touareg T2 with slightly more power is entered, this Race-Touareg with driver Bruno Saby finishs in 3rd overall and 1st in the Diesel class.
In 2006, Volkswagen releases it most powerful Race-Touareg yet the Race-Touareg 2. VW races 5 of these with driver Giniel de Villers finishing in 2nd place overall and 1st in the Diesel class.
In 2009, Volkswagen won the 2009 Dakar Rally held in Argentina. VW's Touareg race models finished 1st and 2nd before Hummer, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Volkswagen Racing all around the World
Below are Official or Dealership sponsored Volkswagen Racing activitys outside Germany:
- China rally participation: Shanghai-VW Santana, Shanghai-VW Polo, FAW-VW Jetta, and Shanghai-VW supported the 1st Shanghai F1 Grand Prix, with a Polo Cup support series.
- South Africa rally participation: VW Polo, SEAT Ibiza based Polo Playa, VW Citi and VW Golf. Circuit participation: SEAT Ibiza based Polo Derby/Classic, A3 engined series which supports the A1 Racing series, and the GTI engined F3 style racing series.
- France: A French Volkswagen team entered the 2000 and 2001 Le Mans Series, with their 2.0 Turbo racer, which produced around 356 kW/485 hp.
- Argentina: Many Volkswagen models have competed in TC 2000, including the 1980 to 1983 champion Volkswagen 1500 and the 1994 champion Volkswagen Gol.
- Brazil rally participation: Gol and Voyage, and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles heavy trucks. Circuit participation: Brasilia, Karmann Ghia, and Gol, Voyage. The Bora used nowadays in Stock Car Brasil is actually a plastic body around a tubular chassis with Chevrolet V8 engine.
- Peru: VW Peru Rally the Fox in the S1600 class.
- Japan circuit participation: Golf, Lupo and Polo Cup's.
- Poland circuit participation: Golf with TDI Cup.
- United Kingdom circuit participation: Lupo, Polo, Golf, Jetta (Vento/Bora), Scirocco, Corrado, Beetle, Type 3, and Caddy. Rally entries: Beetle, Type 3, Polo & Golf. VW Racing UK now have their own cup, they also have had Rallyed a Polo 1600 class and Golf TDI.
- Australia: VW has a very close relationship with motorsport it was the REDeX and Mobil Trials of the 1950s which propelled VW to be a sales success in Australia. In 1999 and 2000, VW won the F2 Australian Rally Championship with the Golf GTI. In 2001 and 2002, VW raced the New Beetle RSI in the GT Performance series, it was close to the top of the board both seasons. In 2003, VW Australia was the first to race and develop the R32 Golf in the 2004 GT Performance series, and came 2nd overall.
- Finland: In 2002, VW won the Finnish Rally Championship in a7/(F2), with a Golf Mk4 KitCar, with Mikko Hirvonen. In 1999 and 2000, VW won the Finnish Rally Championship in a7/(F2) with a Golf Mk3 KitCar. In 2000, 2001 and 2002, VW won the Finnish Racing Championship in Sport 2000 with a Golf Mk4.
- Austria: From 1967 until 1974, the Austrian sole distributor "Porsche Salzburg (Austria)" successfully entered the VW Beetle (1500, 1302S and 1303S) in European-wide rallies. Victories were achieved in `72 and `73 in the overall Austrian championship,on Elba, in the Acropolis rally (first in class). The last versions used the 1600 cc engine with 125hp and a 5 speed Porsche 914 transmission. Top drivers were Tony Fall(GB), Achim Warmbold(D), Guenter Janger(A), Harry Källström(S).
Information contains excerpts from Volkswagen Racing UK's website.
- Official Site
- Official Press Release Site
- Official Site of Hankook VW Cup
- VW UK's Official Site
- VW South Africa's Official Site
- VW Motorsport Forum
Volkswagen is part of the Volkswagen group, along with:
- Audi (the former post-WWII Auto Union/DKW)—bought from Daimler-Benz in 1964.
- NSU—bought in 1969 by Volkswagen's Audi division, a brand not used since 1977
- SEAT—majority owned since 1987
- Škoda—bought in 1991
- Bentley—bought in 1998 from Vickers along with Rolls-Royce - cannot produce cars using the Rolls-Royce marque because the trademarks went to BMW
- Bugatti—name bought in 1998
- Lamborghini —bought in June 12, 1998
- Porsche Since August 13, 2009 the two companies announced a merge with Volkswagen being the leading company over Porsche. Porsche will join Volkswagen's group of brands in the lineup from 2011 as the 10th brand of the group.
From July 1998 until December 2002, Volkswagen's Bentley division also sold cars under the Rolls-Royce name under an agreement with BMW, which had bought the rights to that name. From 2003, only BMW may make cars called Rolls-Royce.
Volkswagen used a small, two-piece "split" back window until 1953. Then until 1957, the back window was a small one-piece oval. Beginning with the 1958 model, there was a larger back window that provided good rear visibility. It was said that Volkswagen had finally admitted that their cars really do back up.
Most Volkswagens used 15 inch wheels, but in the mid-1960s, some microbuses had 14 inch wheels.
The aluminum-magnesium engine block of an air-cooled Volkswagen weights little more than a cardboard box, after the crankshaft and other heavy parts are removed. The engine is so light it has been used successfully in homebuilt aircraft.
Volkswagen Beetles were so tightly constructed that it was difficult to close the door without opening a window. Slamming a door with the windows closed would sometimes hurt your ears.
It is widely known that the engine over the drive wheels gave Volkswagens excellent traction in mud or snow, but high ground clearance also helped their off-road capabilities.
In 1960, it was easy to calculate fuel costs for a trip. With Volkswagen economy and low gas prices, you could drive for about one cent a mile. A 1200 mile trip would cost about $12 for gas. That would be four fillup's.
Before 1961, Volkswagen Beetles had no gas gauge. When you ran out of gas, you flipped a lever to access your gasoline reserve, and you still had 30 miles or so to find a gas station.
Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann worked as a foreman at a Volkswagen factory in Argentina before being captured by the Mossad in 1960.
- BBC NEWS | Porsche wants 20% Volkswagen deal | 26 September 2005
- BBC NEWS | Top EU court finds against VW law
- BBC NEWS | Porsche triggers VW takeover bid
- New York Times | Court Strikes Down "Volkswagen Law"
- Financial Times | Porsche plans to raise VW stake to 75%
- VW vies for title of world’s biggest company
- "Volkswagen to take a 42.0 percent stake in Porsche AG". Taume News. 2009-08-14. http://news.taume.com/World-Business/Business-Finance/Volkswagen-to-take-a-42-0-percent-stake-in-Porsche-AG-11861. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- DTC (German)
- Volkswagen AG
- Volkswagen India
News and Resources
- Volkswagen 2028: A Glimpse into the Automotive Future
- Porsche Buys Volkswagen: Porsche Announces That It Controls Volkswagen, Offers To Buy Audi
- Porsche plans to take absolute control of VW November 26
- The most valuable carmaker in the world is... ta-da, Volkswagen
- VW Overtakes Toyota as World’s Largest Automaker by Value
- Officially Official: VW and Suzuki tie the knot
Enthusiast Pages and Forums
- VWvortex (Volkswagen Enthusiast Website)
- Free Volkswagen VIN decoder
- Volkswagen VIN decoder
- Stadtverwaltung Wolfsburg
- Guardian: Obituary of Ivan Hirst
- VW Tuning and Modifications
- 1938 essay on the early VW
- The Samba: Volkswagen Enthusiasts and Classifieds Site
- Classic VW Spotter's Page
- Aircooled Enthusiasts Page
- Volkswagen vento
Performance and Tuning Links
- Evolution Motorsports
- Forge Motorsport
- Pro Imports
- Hillside Imports-Portland, OR
- Performance VW magazine
- New Dimensions
- Freedom Design
- SSI Performance
- Bahn Brenner
- German Autosport
- Performance Cafe
- Giac software
- Revo software
- VW Customisation site
- APR software
- Aircooled VW parts
- VAG-Com diagnostic software
- Custom Cars