This year, Volkswagen celebrated its 78th Birthday. The people’s car company has had us drooling over their iconic, well built cars for decades now. But how it got here is an entirely different story and a very interesting one at that. Volkswagen’s tale has strong links to the 2nd World War, The Nazi Party & Adolf Hitler himself. Here’s a little recapitulation into the early days of the biggest German automaker :
The National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) Party was forged from the political and economic instability faced by the Germans in the early 1920s. The party was committed to improving the lives of German workers. Volkswagen, the people’s car, was a significant step forward towards their dream. Hitler and the Nazi party remind us of the ghastly past ,the holocaust, the abominable cruelty engineered through the most well planned, bureaucratic, state sponsored slaughter system known to mankind. We tend to forget that ‘DAS AUTO’ was partially his contrivance.
On May 28, 1937, Hitler set out to build his dream car,an affordable yet speedy car for the German families and hence began the story of the leading european car manufacturer. The government of Germany – then under the control of Adolf Hitler formed a new state-owned automobile company. This company was named Volkswagenwerk Gmbh (The People’s Car Company’)
It started with the establishment of the headquarters of Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg, a city created specially for the workers of the Volkswagen plant. Probably the first step that contributed in the shaping the history of the automobile industry once and for all.Wolfsburg was especially created for mass production of the dream car. Hitler called out to the Austrian automobile maker, Friedland Porsche (the founder of Porsche) to design this car. In 1939, it was displayed at the Berlin Motor show where Hitler named it Kraft-durch-Freude Wagen (“Strength Through Joy” car).
Hence, I believe there is only one name that can be given to this car, a name I shall give to it on this very evening. It shall bear the name of that organization that strives to instill both joy and strength in the masses. The name shall be: “Strength through Joy Car”! (Kraft durch Freude-Wagen) – Adolf Hitler
But soon after World War II broke out and production had to be stopped. The plant switched production to armaments and the vehicles under the VW logo which went to the army of the Third Reich. Some 20,000 forced labourers, prisoners of war, and later also concentration camp prisoners, were made to work at the plant.
The VW Love Bug – Beetle
After the war, the plant went under the supervision of British Major Ivan Hirst. If not for him, Volkswagen wouldn’t have been there today. It was under his influence that the allies focused their attempts on Volkswagen to resuscitate the German auto industry and began mass production (instead of shutting it down) of the Type 1 or Beetle, as it would come to be known throughout the world. This was a two-door, four passenger, rear-engined economy car.The Beetle, till today, remains their most iconic and popular car. These lovely VW Bugs have undergone several cosmetic and technical changes over the years and are still available in the market, capturing hearts through decades.
The VW Bus – Bully
After the Beetle, it was time for the Bully to create a sensation. On March 8th, 1950, the Type 2 went into production, expanding the company’s product range. Though not as much as the Beetle, the Bully soon created a rising demand thanks to its multifunctional capabilities. This Van underwent intermittent changes for 4 generations, before it ceased production in 2003. Brazil hosted the last factory in the world that produced the T2.
Despite the success of the Beetle, VW was in need of new models and in the sixties, they finally came out with Golf or Rabbit (as marketed in USA) which was a instant hit. The same year a sporty model, Scirocco was launched followed by Polo for the smaller car market.
The VW Sport Coupe – Scirocco
The Volkswagen Scirocco is a sport compact coupe produced by the German manufacturer, undergoing two generations of development between 1974 and 1992 and reintroduced in a third generation in August 2008. The model name was taken as inspiration from the mediterranean wind Sirocco.
The VW Golf
Volkswagen Golf (called the Rabbit in the U.S. & Caribe in Mexico) had the daunting task of following the most popular car ever built — the Beetle. Fortunately for VW, the Golf was nearly as big a hit as the Beetle had been and the company was able to soon phase out Beetle production in Germany. It would take nearly another three decades, but eventually the Golf replaced the Beetle in the rest of the world, too.
The VW Polo
The Volkswagen Polo was introduced in 1975, and as of 2011 has been produced over five generations with intermittent facelifts. It is sold in Europe and other markets worldwide in hatchback, coupe, sedan & estate variants. The latest iteration has recently become the posterboy for Volkswagen’s motorsport division, with Sebastien Ogier taking the Polo R WRC and Volkswagen Motorsport to two successive Driver’s and Constructor’s titles in 2013 and 2014.
In the last two decades, Volkswagen has become one of the largest car manufacturers of the world and the leading one in Europe. Today, the Volkswagen Group sells performance and passenger cars under Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bugatti, Skoda, SEAT and Volkswagen marques. They came to India in 2007 with their supreme cars to test the market and since then have proven to be quite popular on Indian roads. You can buy 200 Points Pre Inspected Certified used Volkswagen cars in India at Spinny. See options available in cities: Delhi, Bangalore, Gurgaon and Noida.