Volkswagen is one of the most popular car brands in the world, offering a wide range of vehicles that cater to different needs and lifestyles. With over 83 years of automotive history, you may think that you know everything about this German car manufacturer. However, there are some surprising facts that you may not be aware of. Here are some things you did not know about Volkswagen:
The Company Was Founded by the Nazi Party
Most people know that Volkswagen is a German company, but few are aware that it was founded by the Nazi Party in the 1930s. Adolf Hitler was looking for a car that could be affordable and accessible to the masses, and he tasked Ferdinand Porsche to design it. The result was the Volkswagen Beetle, which became one of the most iconic cars in history. The company was originally called “Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH” or “Company for the Preparation of the German Volkswagen Ltd.” and was later renamed Volkswagenwerk or “VW” for short.
After World War II, Volkswagen was taken over by the British army and later sold to German investors. The company disassociated itself from its Nazi past and focused on producing affordable, reliable cars for the masses.
Volkswagen Owns Several Other Car Brands
While Volkswagen is a well-known brand in its own right, many people are surprised to learn that it owns several other car brands. Through its parent company, Volkswagen AG, the company owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Skoda. Each brand has its own unique identity and caters to different markets, but they all share the same commitment to quality, innovation, and engineering excellence.
For example, Audi is known for its sleek design and advanced technology, while Porsche is renowned for its sports cars and luxury vehicles. Lamborghini is known for its high-performance supercars, and Skoda offers affordable, practical cars for families and commuters.
Volkswagen Was Involved in a Major Emissions Scandal
In 2015, Volkswagen was involved in a major emissions scandal that rocked the automotive industry. The company was found to have installed software in its diesel engines that could detect when the car was being tested for emissions and would adjust its performance accordingly to pass the test. However, during normal driving conditions, the cars were emitting up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide than allowed by US environmental regulations.
The scandal affected millions of Volkswagen diesel cars and led to massive fines, compensation payouts, and a huge blow to the company’s reputation. Volkswagen has since pledged to invest heavily in electric and hybrid vehicles and has set ambitious targets to become a carbon-neutral company by 2050.
Volkswagen Has a Rich Racing History
While Volkswagen is known for producing practical and affordable family cars, the company has a rich racing history that dates back to the 1930s. The Volkswagen Beetle was one of the most successful cars of its time, winning many races and setting numerous records. The Beetle’s distinctive shape and rear-engine layout made it popular with rally drivers, and it became a dominant force in the sport.
Today, Volkswagen competes in a wide range of racing events, including the World Rally Championship, the World Touring Car Cup, and the World Endurance Championship. The company has also achieved success in electric racing, winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2018 with its electric Volkswagen I.D. R prototype.
Volkswagen is a company that has a long and fascinating history, with many surprising facts and stories. From its controversial origins to its ownership of multiple other car brands and its involvement in a major emissions scandal, Volkswagen has faced many challenges and opportunities throughout its journey. However, the company’s commitment to innovation, engineering excellence, and quality has remained constant, making it one of the most respected and popular car manufacturers in the world.