Established and located in Wolfsburg, Germany, Volkswagen is one of the largest European automakers today. The name, when translated to English, means the “people’s car”, which was obviously an important marketing ploy for the establishment of the brand in its early stages. The Volkswagen now manages several other automakers, including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, SEAT, Giugiaro, and Skoda. The automaker also has a nearly 50% stake in Porsche, which helps the brand to improve its global distribution.
When Volkswagen entered the German marketplace in 1937, the market was comprised primarily of luxury vehicle providers. This meant that very few Germans could actually afford an automobile. Seeing a unique opportunity, Volkswagen’s first prototype, which would later become the ever-popular “Beetle”, would help to change the auto landscape of the region and propel the brand to successes through the 20th century and into the 21st.
England seized control of the Wolfsburg factory in 1945, and things did not look good for the future prospects of Volkswagen. However, a British automaker had an interest in utilizing the factory, and it was spared from dismantling. The vehicles created in the plant were then imported to Britain, and the Beetle began to gain industry clout.
Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, the Volkswagen Golf became a mainstay in Europe. Because the compact was reliable and could allow for easy navigation in crowded areas, the brand elected to expand the Golf’s distribution, sending it to North America and coining it “The Rabbit”. Other models such as the Cabriolet and Jetta were the models to actually propel the brand in the overseas market.
When the Beetle enjoyed its resurgence in 1998, Volkswagen had again successfully reinvented its own model, paving the way for improved sales and enough clout to acquire other struggling automakers.
By expanding their model lines to include diesel and hybrid models, Volkswagen is poised to continue their improving sales figures. The Jetta continues to sell well as a sporty mid-size sedan, and because the brand remains popular with younger drivers, the automaker has the opportunity to solidify itself in the minds of consumers moving forward.
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