Models that have become classics have helped to develop the Volkswagen brand. The most iconic of these models is the famous VW Beetle, which has even been the star of movies. Another recognizable model with the Volkswagen name is the VW van. However, there is much more to the auto manufacturer and the lineup which has evolved over the past century.
Volkswagen is a German company founded back in 1937 by the German Labour Front. Headquartered in Wolfsburg, this auto manufacturer was the largest in the world in 2016 and 2017. The name of the company is a German word which can be translated to people’s car, which has been utilized in the company branding.
At the time that VW was founded, only the wealthiest of Germans could afford a vehicle for their transportation. Volkswagen was formed to answer that call and create a people’s car which would be more affordable for the average person. The company began immediately to develop this idea, which led to the round shape of the Beetle and the rear-mounted engine.
Critics had nothing but bad things to say about the car, saying it could never be popular. It didn’t take long for Volkswagen to prove the nay-sayers wrong as the model won over the targeted market. By 1949, the Beetle was making its way to the US, followed by Canada in 1952. In 1955, Volkswagen of America was founded to take care of sales and service for VW models in the US. Production kept increasing and reached the one million mark in the same year.
Just a few short years later, the VW Beetle became synonymous with a younger car buyer. Advertising changed to appeal to the “hipper” crowd. By 1972, the Beetle became the most produced single make vehicle in history, overtaking the Ford Model T. By the following year, production had climbed to over 16 million.
Volkswagen couldn’t rest on just one successful model, and by 1961, four other models were introduced under the Type 3 line. After another eight years, the Type 4 was developed. This group was the first to have an automatic transmission and electronic fuel injection.
During this same period, Volkswagen expanded its line like other manufacturers and acquired Audi to introduce a luxury brand to the company. Volkswagen also used Audi technology to begin a new line of vehicles, which would later develop into the Passat, Golf and other models. Now that the Golf had been introduced, the Beetle stopped being produced in 1974.
Once the Golf entered the market, it would become the signature model for Volkswagen for the entire 1990s. The sedan version of the Golf was renamed the Jetta for US models. Volkswagen also decided it was time to bring back the classic Beetle with a new look. While US sales saw a decline during the late 1990s, it picked back up in the early 2000s. More recently, VW has begun to focus on developing electric versions of all their models. The company hopes to meet this goal by 2030.
Today, the focus for Volkswagen is on stylish sedans and practical SUVs with both lines offering a little touch of luxury and a more rewarding drive. Golf is still in production with new versions coming available. Passat and Tiguan are two others that have withstood the test of time. Newer versions to make the cut to the lineup include the Atlas SUV, the Arteon sedan and the ID.4 SUV.
You can learn more about these and other models and find one for your active lifestyle at Premier Clearance Center Westbank.