In 1933, Adolf Hitler commissioned the famous designer Ferdinand Porsche and Jacob Werlin, one of the directors of the Daimler-Benz concern, to create a people's car that could satisfy all the needs of an ordinary buyer, while the cost of the model should not exceed one thousand Reichsmarks. Thus, the history of the Volkswagen concern began, which got its name from the German Volks-Wagen, that is, the people's car. Jacob Verlin put forward a proposal that it was Dr. Porsche who was engaged in the development of the model, and the company "Daimler-Benz", would be responsible for the technical side of the issue, providing also its production facilities. The model Porsche Typ 60 formed the basis of the people's car. So, the first prototype of the model saw the light in 1934, and mass production of the car began 4 years later.
In 1937, the Volkswagen company was founded, which was to become the symbol of the new Germany. In the shortest possible time, an ultra-modern plant was built in the city of Wolfsburg, laid down for the workers of the new enterprise. In 1938, army modifications of the car were presented, called the Volkswagen Type 82 and 85. In general, the people's car formed the basis of a whole model range, taking a leading position in the automobile market in Germany, Austria and Holland, and the selling price of the basic version was 1550 Reichsmarks. In addition, during the years of the Second World War, the factories of the Daimler concern produced more than 30 thousand amphibians based on the people's car, which were also developed by Ferdinand Porsche.
However, in 1945, after the overthrow of Hitler and the end of the war, Ferdinand Porsche was imprisoned, and the city of Wolfsburg was in the British zone of occupation, which led to significant changes in the leadership of the Volkswagen concern. However, until 1948, the British army managed to get about 20 thousand copies of various modifications of the people's car for their own needs. In 1949, full control over the Volkswagen concern passed to the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, which was forced to start exporting brand cars to other countries. Only in 1955, the model was named Volkswagen Beetle, and it began to be produced in the original, civilian modification. In 1950, with the money of investors from Holland, engineers of the German brand began work on the creation of a full-size minibus, called the Volkswagen Bully. In 1953-1959, factories for the assembly of Volkswagen cars were opened in Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Mexico.
By 1960, 9 new models of the Volkswagen brand were introduced, which were based on the Volkswagen Beetle platform. Thanks to the use of a base proven over the years, the new modifications were completely devoid of flaws, which significantly reduced the cost of producing new cars, which only needed to replace the body and power unit for one or another needs of the target buyer.
The next important step in the history of the German automobile company was 1965, when Volkswagen bought the Audi brand from Daimler-Benz and incorporated it into its structure by uniting the management top and design headquarters. This is how the Volkswagen-Audi company appeared, later renamed into the Volkswagen Group.
In 1969, after a small firm for the construction of power units called NSU became part of the Volkswagen concern, the company's management decided to move away from the classic Beetle layout proposed by Ferdinand Porsche. So a year later, the first front-wheel drive cars of the Volkswagen brand were presented, in which the power unit was located in front. In parallel with this, active work was underway to create the first joint car with the Audi brand, which in 1974 became the compact Volkswagen Golf hatchback, the progenitor of the car class of the same name. The model was distinguished not only by its compact dimensions, but also by a good combination of convenience, dynamism and lightness, which allowed it to become the new sales leader in the German automotive market.
In the same year, the last copies of the Volkswagen Beetle came off the assembly line at the company's factories in Wolfsburg, but their production was continued by the factories of the Volkswagen brand in Brazil and Mexico. In Europe, it was replaced by two models at once - Passat and Golf. In just 2.5 years of sales of the compact Golf hatchback, more than one million cars were sold, which made the German brand one of the leaders in the European automotive industry, and the resulting profit formed the basis for the creation of a new generation of Volkswagen production facilities. In 1975, on the wave of the success of Golf, its simplified modification, the Volkswagen Polo, was presented, under the hood of which there was a power unit with a capacity of 40 horsepower. In addition, in 1976, a sedan version of the Volkswagen Polo was developed on the basis of the Audi 50.
In 1983, the next renewal of the Volkswagen lineup began, with the introduction of the second generation Golf and Jetta, a compact sedan built on the basis of a small hatchback, with the same range of engines, but in a completely redesigned body design. A new generation of the Volkswagen Scirocco sports model was also presented, under the hood of which there are motors with a capacity of 120 to 200 horsepower.
In 1982, the management of the German concern signed an agreement on close cooperation with the Spanish automaker SEAT, which experienced financial difficulties, but successfully kept afloat, due to the release of inexpensive cars, popular among ordinary buyers. However, financial problems still broke the Spanish brand. This led in 1986 to the transfer of a 51% controlling stake in the company under the control of the Volkswagen brand, which paid off all debts of the SEAT company, and also included it in its structure, using it as production facilities for the production of its models in the automotive market Spain and Portugal. Also in 1982, the world's first five-cylinder engines were introduced, installed on the second generation Volkswagen Passat.
In 1988, the Volkswagen Corrado was introduced, which took the place of the Cirocco model among the company's current cars, and the Cirocco itself was discontinued. Successful financial performance and consistently high sales of Volkswagen vehicles allowed the management to re-think about the acquisition of a new division, which would help the German brand to occupy new niches in the automotive market.
In 1990, the economic crisis hit Europe seriously, but due to the correct strategy and huge profits, Volkswagen remained one of the few industrial enterprises in the European continent that did not experience a significant decrease in demand for its products and a sharp drop in profits. However, the Czech company Skoda, which specializes in creating inexpensive cars for the Eastern European market, was much less fortunate, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Before the engineers of the German concern loomed the prospect of creating another model range of cars, which led to the complete takeover of the Czech manufacturer Skoda, and for Volkswagen, an entry into the automotive market of Eastern Europe was opened.
At the same time, another eminent brand, Porsche, is also falling under the control of the Volkswagen concern, which is rapidly suffering economic collapse due to spending exceeding revenues on modernization and expansion of production. As a result, for the next 16 years, the Porsche brand was completely under the control of Volkswagen, another brainchild of Ferdinand Porsche. However, in 2007, after the correct distribution of excess profits, the Porsche management company was formed, which completely bought out the Volkswagen concern, giving it full control over the activities of the sports car company Porsche AG.
It is noteworthy that it was in the 90s that the designers of the Volkswagen company began to conduct their experiments to create a universal platform for the construction of various cars of the same class, and the first experiments took place on the Golf, Bora, Audi 50 and CEAT Albea models. Thanks to the use of a single platform, the concern no longer needed to carry out lengthy field tests of each of the models, and the cost of one car was reduced by 22%.
The next turning point in the history of the German concern Volkswagen was 1998, when three brands of premium cars - Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti - came under the control of one of the world's largest automakers. A year later, under the control of Audi, which became an independent division of the Volkswagen brand, the Lamborghini brand was transferred, which received a serious technical base for the production of new sports cars. The Bentley brand in the new hierarchy of the German concern was assigned a share of one of the largest players in the luxury car market, thanks to the fact that in addition to all the property of the British brand, the production facilities of Rolls-Royce also fell under the control of Volkswagen. The production of a number of cars began, which, without unnecessary modesty, began to be called cars for millionaires.
At the same time, the most difficult task was set before the French brand "Bugatti", whose engineers were instructed in 2000 to create the most powerful and fastest car in history, using all the latest developments of the company "Audi". After 5 years, a chapter called Bugatti Veyron was inscribed in the history of the German concern, and a car with a power unit with a capacity of one thousand horsepower became the first hypercar in history, setting a number of speed records.
The 2000s were also marked by the massive participation of the Volkswagen concern in motorsport competitions. Between 2000 and 2013, the factory teams "Audi" and "Bentley" won 11 victories in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans marathon, setting many records, as well as providing the concern with the most advanced developments in the field of kinetic energy recovery, aerodynamics and selective transmissions with double clutch.
Also, in 2002, the first off-road cars of the Volkswagen brand were presented, for the promotion of which it was decided to start performing in the legendary Paris-Dakar rally-raid, where in the middle of the 20th century the Porsche company managed to win two victories. Racing prototypes of the Volkswagen Tuareg model won first places in the Paris-Dakar races of 2009-2011, displacing more experienced competitors from the leading positions. In addition, these developments allowed Volkswagen to start serial production of all-wheel drive chassis for light hatchbacks and sedans. And since 2011, it was decided to start competing with the Skoda factory team in the World Rally Championship, where in 2013 a Volkswagen prototype driven by French driver Sebastian Ogier won the individual competition, breaking the dominance of the Citroen brand, which had lasted almost 10 years ...
By 2012, all Volkswagen cars were modernized, and the total number of sales markets reached 150. In addition, the company is actively investing in the development of its business in China, the third largest automotive market in the world.
In 2013, the Volkswagen e-Golf was released, an electric version of the C-class hatchback. This is the most sustainable version of the Golf model in history. The car is equipped with climate control with the possibility of heating and cooling in the parking lot, a multimedia system with navigation, heated windshield and LED headlights. Volkswagen Golf GTE is a front-wheel drive C-class hatchback with a hybrid power plant. The world premiere of the model took place at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014. The Volkswagen Golf GTE is driven by a power plant consisting of a 150-horsepower turbocharged gasoline engine with a working volume of 1.4 liters and an electric motor with a power of 102 liters. from. In 2015, a restyled version of the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid was released. It is a class C sedan with a hybrid power plant. The hybrid component has left a certain mark on the performance and design of the Jett. The electric motor and batteries have completely increased the weight of the car, so it was extremely important to optimize the sedan's aerodynamics.