A Very Brief Look at Volkswagen’s Long History
The Volkswagen, Germany’s famed ‘people’s car’, has a long history. Its original concept is attributed to fascist despot Adolph Hitler in 1938, who, in a rare moment of rationality, saw the car as something the average German family could afford by saving up for in a relatively short amount of time. It’s a bit of an unfortunate origin story to be sure, but the Volkswagen, or ‘VW’, has grown far beyond its muddy roots to become one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers, coming in just behind Japanese giant Toyota, with around 600,000 employees producing 40,000 cars every single day of the year! The brand is certainly popular down under, with Australians purchasing an average of 50,000 Volkswagen models annually, often requiring VW auto transport services.
The brand is renowned for its longevity as a company, and also for its staying power as an extremely reliable car for daily driving, but even the best eventually reach an end to their service, so go see the professional VW wreckers in Brisbane when it’s time to retire your late model. They will attempt to recycle any useful parts, which might make you feel better about saying goodbye to such a reliable old pal!
The company no longer just makes its flagship brands, it currently owns around a dozen subsidiaries, including Lamborghini, Seat and Skoda, Bentley, Porsche, Bugatti, and Ducati, having come a long way from its humble beginnings as the Everyman’s passenger car and ranging into luxury sports models for the rich and famous!
Volkswagen’s continued success post-war can be attributed to one man, Ivan Hirst, a major in the British Army who saw its great potential, and saved the company from having its factories dismantled and its assets sold off as war reparations.
Here are some of the other interesting moments in Volkswagen’s 78-year-long history:
The first Volkswagen was designed by the famed Ferdinand Porsche. It featured one of the first air-cooled rear engines, destined to be the brand’s signature, although not in as much use today. Porsche also created the aerodynamic ‘beetle shape’ that would forever be regarded as the company’s greatest, and longest-lasting achievement.
The first VW Beetles were built in the manufacturing city of Wolfsburg, you can still see the unique Wolfsburg heraldic crest represented on older models, especially as a gear shift emblem.
After the war, the company came under the direction of the British Army, which helped make it an essential feature of Germany’s post-war miracle. In 1945 the British Army placed an order for 20,000 Volkswagen vehicles to help its efforts to run the country.
Ferdinand Porsche’s personal design team, which eventually becomes the Porsche company, is paid an ongoing licensing fee for the Beetle, and the two automobile manufacturers maintain a partnership for years to come.
Volkswagen expanded rapidly in the 50s, this growth continued through subsequent decades to where the company is now, one of the world’s premiere automobile manufacturers. From the beloved bug to an extensive catalogue of great models, Volkswagen is here to stay!