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Volkswagen was founded in 1937, by the Nazi party under the auspices of Adolph Hitler forming a state owned car company. The company’s name eventually became Volkswagenwerk “The People’s Car Company.” The company was originally operated by the German Labor Front ( a part of the Nazi party.) This car had a pretty unique shape, due to its small size and rounded shape that made the car look a bit of a bubble on wheels.
The car was meant to be an inexpensive vehicle for the general public of Germany to have a means of transportation. However, shortly after the car was displayed in 1939 at the Berlin motor show World War II broke out and Volkswagen stopped making vehicles and began producing vehicles for the German war effort.
Shortly after the war ended the allies worked to help jump start the reinstatement of the German car industry and Volkswagen went back into production again making their small modest vehicle.
While sales of this small VW vehicle was good in many countries, they were slow in the United States due to the car’s association with the Nazi Party and America’s bitterness over the war.
However, in 1959, an advertising company dubbed the Volkswagen car the Beetle and promoted it across the United States as a car whose small size was a benefit to consumers.
By the 1960s the Beetle went from the car no American wanted to the best selling car in the United States.
Volkswagen Factories Spring Up Around the World
Starting in the 1950’s Volkswagen plants began to spring up around the world with plants being operated in Brazil, Mexico, China, and the United States. In the 1960’s the company went from German owned to mostly publicly owned and the VW Beetle continued it’s popularity right up to the 1970’s with very little change to it’s body style.
Love For the Beetle Began to Fade
In the 1970s after 35 years of production with little changes to the body, interest in the VW Beetle began to fade as more and more people began turning to sportier looking small cars. In response to the fading popularity of the Beetle Volkswagen forced Volkswagen to begin making sportier models of small cars such as the Rabbit and later the Golf as well as a redesigned Beetle.
However, manufacturing of the original Beetle continued though on a smaller scale. It wasn’t until 2003 that the original Beetle’s production was ended for good.
Modern Day Volkswagen Vehicles
Today Volkswagen makes over 26 different models of passenger cars as well as vans and commercial vehicles. VW owns several other car companies as well including Audi.
In 2015 Volkswagen reached the distinction of being the world’s largest car manufacturer. However, the distinction was short lived when VW faced a huge scandal specifically in the United States when the EPA discovered that VW’s diesel-powered cars contained software that altered the vehicle’s performance so that it would pass emission tests although the company’s sales throughout the world continued to be popular.
Here is 2019 are the most popular models of Volkswagen by type.
- Jetta GLI
- Golf Sports Wagen
- Golf Attack
- Golf GLI
- Golf R
and the Beetle convertible.