Volkswagen is a German automobile mark belonging to the group Volkswagen AG. The current president of the mark is called Wolfgang Bernhard (July 2005). He replaces Peter Hartz, which gave its resignation. Volkswagen wants to literally say in German “ the car of the people ”.
Since the summer 2006, Volkswagen AG is controlled by its first shareholder Porsche joining again thus with the history since it is the research department of Ferdinand Porsche which had drawn the first models.
BeginningsThe origins of the mark find in the Nazi Germany Années 1930 with the project to build the popular car which was going to become the Coccinelle (then drawn by Hitler on a corner of table…) : before indicating an automobile company, the word Volkswagen indicates the model of vehicle which was going to make the success of the company - in a context of “monoculture” which was going besides to cause him difficulties in the years 1970. The desire of Hitler was that each one can offer a car: indeed Germany had just obtained a broad network from highways which remained deserted. The engineer Ferdinand Porsche (1875 - 1951) (originator of famous the " arrows of argent" of Car-Union which trustaient, with Mercedes, first places of all the races of the time), seeing in this project the occasion to carry out its older dream: to manufacture a popular car model, made him a proposal in this direction, inspired by the models avant-gardists Tatra of Hans Ledwinka. Prototypes of this vehicle called temporarily German KdF-Wagen (: Kraft durch Freude = “the force through the joy”, also name of one of the main organizations of the party hitlérien), appear in 1936 (the first models of preproduction are assembled with Stuttgart in the workshops of the research department Ferdinand Porsche). The car thus left factory had already its round form specific and its architecture of the whole to the back: axel housing and four-cylinder motor flat cooled by air assembled in back Overhang, as well as suspensions with torsion bars. The project such as wanted Hitler was accompanied by a revolutionary formula of financing based on the constitution of a saving per purchase of stamps in the offices of the party kdf.
Erwin Komenda, the chief engineer of Porsche developed the body of the prototype which became that of the Ladybird such as one knows it today.
The new factory in the new town of KdF-Stadt, called today Wolfsburg of the name of the castle on the grounds of which it was built, built to place the factory workers, had only produced one handle of vehicles when the Second world war began in 1939. The first versions thus were of the military vehicles, the Kübelwagen, equivalent of the American Jeep, the amphibious Schwimmwagen and the kommanderwagen which uses the body of the kdf. In 1936 Hitler re-elects the company Volkswagen, the " convey peuple".
The after-Second World warAfter the war, the company owes primarily its survival with a British officer, Major Ivan Hirst (1916-2000). In April 1945, the town of KdF-Stadt and its factories already largely destroyed by the bombardments are captured by American who leaves the administration to the British of it. Hirst is named by it director. At the beginning, the idea was to use them for the maintenance of the military vehicles, and to recover the equipment as a war reparation. Hirst painted one of the models in green and made the demonstration of it in front of the British staff. To court of light means of transport, the British army placed an order of 20.000 specimens. The first models were delivered to the personnel of the occupying force like at the German post offices. By 1946,1000 cars left the factory each month, quantifies all the more remarkable if it is considered that the production equipment was still in repair. The roof and the windows damaged let pass the rain which stopped the production.
The future of the company was dubious: offered to the large British, American and French manufacturers, all refused to take it again. After a visit of the production site, Sir William Rootes, with the head of the British group Rootes made the forecast which the project would not last two years moreover, and which this car was “rather pushing back for the average purchaser, too ugly and too noisy”. He added: “if you want to build cars in this place, you are an imbecile, young man”. The representatives of Ford remained quite as critical: this car was not worth anything according to them. In France, Citroen started the production of the 2CV with a similar design, in Italy appeared FIAT 500.
As from 1948, Volkswagen became one of the figureheads of the “German Economic miracle”. Heinrich Nordhoff (1899-1968), an former executive of the company Opel is recruited to direct the company in 1948. In 1949, Hirst leaves the company which is reformed in the shape of a conglomerate controlled by the government of West Germany. Separately the introduction of “Type 2” (light van, the “combi”) and vehicle of sport Karmann Ghia, Nordhoff continued the policy of the single model until its death in 1968. The production of “Type 1” (famous “the ladybird”) increased considerably, reaching the million specimens produced in 1954.
During the Years 1960 and at the beginning of the Years 1970, in spite of the obsolescence growing of the model, exports towards America, of innovating publicities and its reputation made it possible the “Cox” to beat the record of production hitherto held by the Ford T. In 1973,16 million specimens were produced.
Volkswagen started to vary its range in 1967 with the introduction of several models known as “Type 3”, primarily of the variations of body based on the mechanics of “Type 1”, then in 1969 with the popular not very “Standard 4” (Volkswagen 411 and 412), monocorps, with an automatic transmission and fuel injection engines.
Ladybird with the GolfAt the end of the years 1960, Volkswagen was in annoying posture: the models type 3 and type 4 were commercial failures and the K70 (model initially planned for the mark NSU) did not know to find its public. The production of the ladybird having well to cease a day, it had to be replaced, but it was not so simple to replace a legend. The key of the problem was acquisition into 1964 of Audi/Auto Union. The firm of Ingolstadt had experience which missed in Volkswagen in the field of the nose gear wheels motor coaches and the engines with liquid cooling. The influence of Audi opened the way with a new generation of Volkswagen, the Polo, Golf and Passat.
Production of the Ladybirds, the factory of Wolfsburg passed to that of the Golf since 1974, sold in the United States under the name VW Rabbit in the years 1970 and 1980. The Golf dissociated Ladybird by many aspects, as well aesthetically as by its mechanics (its angular line was drawn by Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro). It fitted in the line of small town the such Mini (1959) and the Renault 5 (1972). The Golf had a transverse engine with liquid cooling located at before which involved the nose gear wheels. It also had a forage ladder, a format which dominates the market since. The production of the Ladybirds continued since in more modest factories, in Germany until 1978, then with the Brésil or the Mexico where the last Ladybird was assembled the July 30th 2003 with Puebla.
Five generations of the Golf followed one another since. First summer 1974 at the end of 1983 was produced. Its frame was also used to design the half-compartment Scirocco and the truck Jetta. The production of the second generation of Golf and its version with Jetta trunk began at the end of 1983 and continued until the end of the year 1991. In 1991, the mark launched the third generation of Golf which becomes the European car of the year in 1992. The version the preceding ones had failed to conquer this title, being made precede by the Citroen CX in 1975 and by FIAT Uno in 1984. For this third generation, the version truck was famous Vento. The fourth version of the Golf was born at the end of 1997, its as a basis frame being used for many other models of the group Volkswagen (Volkswagen Bora, Volkswagen New Beetle, Seat Toledo, Seat Leon I, Audi A3, Audi TT, Skoda Octavia). This model failed the contest of the car of the year in Europe behind the Alfa Romeo 156 and the Audi A6. The present generation of Golf (the fifth) was launched at the end of 2003 and has finishes second with the contest of the car of the year behind FIAT Panda.
Volkswagen also has a range of smaller vehicles, represented by the Polo launched in 1976 (also sold under the name of Audi 50). A version truck of the Sports shirt, the Volkswagen Derby was also marketed. Since, there were 4 incarnations of the Sports shirt: Phase 1 (1976-1981), Phase 2 (1981-1994, with a restylage in 1990), Phase 3 (1994-2002, restylée in 1999) and current Phase 4 impetus at the beginning of 2002.
For these models it is necessary to add the half-compartments Scirocco and Corrado as well as the large truck Passat. In 1998, Volkswagen launched the New Beetle, a modern vehicle with the lines evoking the Ladybird which was not the success of its elder. In 2002, the firm launched out on new markets like the trucks of prestige with the Phaeton and the 4x4 of leisures with the Touareg.
The company todayIn July 2004, in front of results in fall, the owner of Volkswagen presents his recovery package and his will to make economies. In 2004, the mark recorded a trading loss of 250 million euros and a fall of 30% of the clear benefit of the group. During the summer 2006, Porsche obtains the authorization of the German state to take the minority of blocking of Volkswagen by thus taking control.
In November 2006, Martin Winterkorn becomes the new owner of the mark. Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, took again the hand “while placing its foal”
The company whose head office is located at Wolfsburg realized in 2006, a turnover of 104,8 billion euros. Its clear benefit for this same year is of 2,75 billion euros. The group is held to a total value of 31% by the group Porsche and to 20,1% by the Land of Lower Saxony. Porsche seeks since the summer 2007 has to carry its participation in the group in 50% of the capital. Volkswagen has a market cap of 42,7 billion euros.
November 16th, 2007, Volkswagen, then first European car manufacturer, announces that the company will invest, the three following years, 28,9 billion euros in new models and factories, to carry out the growth necessary. The sum of 13,8 billion euros will be invested in the production of new models and the modernization of existing models, whereas 7,1 billion goes to the factories.
Models of Volkswagen
- Volkswagen Bora
- Volkswagen Bora station-wagon
- Volkswagen Cab.
- Volkswagen Caddy, monospace
- Volkswagen Caravel
- Volkswagen 166
- Volkswagen 181
- Volkswagen Ladybird
- Volkswagen Combi
- Volkswagen Corrado
- Volkswagen Gol/Parati/Saveiro (with the Brazil) To point (with the Mexico)
- Volkswagen Golf
- Volkswagen Golf II
- Volkswagen Golf III
- Volkswagen Golf IV
- Volkswagen Golf IV station-wagon, station-wagon
- Volkswagen Fox/Lupo (with the Mexico)
- Volkswagen Iltis
- Volkswagen Jetta
- Volkswagen K70
- Volkswagen Karmann
- Volkswagen Karmann convertible
- Volkswagen LT
- Volkswagen Minibus
- Volkswagen Multivan
- Volkswagen Sports shirt I
- Volkswagen Sports shirt II
- Volkswagen Sports shirt III
- Volkswagen Santana
- Volkswagen Scirocco
- Volkswagen Shuttle
- Volkswagen Taro
- Volkswagen To transport
- Volkswagen Varying
- Volkswagen Vento
- Volkswagen Fox, small car manufactured in Brazil and exported towards Europe in its version three doors. Platform of Sports shirt.
- Volkswagen Sports shirt IV, small car whose first generation goes back to 1975.
- Volkswagen CrossPolo, town elevated with vague vocation all-way but with 2 driving wheels.
- Volkswagen Golf V, compact.
- Volkswagen Golf V SW, compacts station-wagon.
- Volkswagen Golf More, semi-monospace compact.
- Volkswagen Eos, compacts convertible directly derived from the Golf.
- Volkswagen Jetta, alternative three volumes (with trunk connect) Golf.
- Volkswagen New Beetle, compacts with the look retro impetus in 1998, taking again the modernized pace of Beetle (Ladybird).
- Volkswagen New Beetle convertible.
- Volkswagen Touran, monospace compact
- Volkswagen Caddy, utility or private car with family vocation resulting from Touran.
- Volkswagen Passat, road.
- Volkswagen Passat SW, road station-wagon (family).
- Volkswagen Phaeton, limousine.
- Volkswagen Sharan (1995), monospace.
- Volkswagen Multivan, at the base a utility which profits from arranged versions thus being included in the category of the monospaces.
- Volkswagen Tiguan, compact SUV on the basis of Golf, launched at the end of 2007.
- Volkswagen Tuareg, SUV dividing its platform with Porsche Cayenne.
- Volkswagen Iroc
- Volkswagen Up!
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