Volkswagen (VW in short) is one of the most dominant vehicle brands in the world at the present time. In 2016 and 2019, it was declared the largest automaker in the world in terms of global sales. In Europe, it is said that every fourth car sold is a Volkswagen; however, that pales in contrast to China’s demand for Volkswagens. China is the Volkswagen Group’s largest market. It had a record uptake of 4.21 million Volkswagen vehicles in 2018 alone. Besides dominating car sales, Volkswagen also holds the record for the largest car factory under one roof in the world (the VW Wolfsburg production facility).
Volkswagen’s history dates back to the early 1930s in Germany. At that time, only the elite in Germany owned cars because they were very expensive. Most Germans could only purchase motorcycles. Adolf Hitler saw the need for a simple yet sufficient car that regular people could afford, and so did several industrialists of that time (including high-end car designer Ferdinand Porsche). These industrialists attempted to build such simple, affordable cars, and Adolf Hitler ended up liking the “Volksauto” car that Ferdinand Porsche built. In 1934, Adolf commissioned Ferdinand to build and design a ‘Volkswagen’ (which translates to ‘people’s car’) that could travel at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph) and that could carry at least two adults and three children. In 1938, Volkswagenwerk GmbH was founded.
To make it easy for all German citizens to own this car, Adolf instituted an affordable savings scheme that required citizens to pay just 5 Reichsmarks a week until the full cost of the car was cleared. German citizens largely embraced this car-buying plan. It is said that over 336,000 people subscribed to this payment plan. Unfortunately, World War II delayed mass production of this first Volkswagen (which was referred to as the Volkswagen Type 1 or Volkswagen Beetle) until 1945. Because of the disruption caused by World War II and also because of unsound planning of the savings scheme, none of the people who subscribed to the savings scheme during the Nazi regime received a Volkswagen Beetle. However, when mass production of the Beetle finally started, the Beetle quickly became one of the most popular cars in Europe.
Today, the Volkswagen Group offers a comprehensive selection of Volkswagen cars, SUVs, vans, and trucks. The inspiration behind the designing and building of Volkswagen vehicles remains the same, though–a car for the people. For this reason, there are Volkswagen vehicles for all price ranges.
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