The first Volkswagen or “people’s car” saw the light of day in pre war Germany as the brain child of famous German engineer Ferdinand Porsche and became the much loved “beetle” which was first launched into production in 1935, and in 1955 the one millionth “beetle rolled off the production line. Production of this remarkable car continued at factories in Germany and other parts of the world until 2003 and a staggering 21,529,464 were built of which 15,444,858 came from the German factory. 1996 saw the New Beetle introduced at the Geneva motor show, and the model was launched in 1999 with production planned to continue until 2011, to be eventually superseded by plans to introduce a redesigned model. Unlike its predecessor, the New Beetle has its engine in the front driving the front wheels in line with many modern production cars of today.
It was not all a bed of roses for VW and by 1973 Volkswagen were in serious financial trouble and in need some new profitable cars. The Beetle, although still a popular cult car would not keep the new business, which now included Audi and NSU afloat. The acquisition of Audi was to prove to be a life saver for the group because of their expertise with front wheeled drive cars. The Range of models was to prove to be winners; the new generation of Volkswagens were the Passat, Scirocco, Golf and Polo.
From the early days of a utility car for the man in the street, Volkswagen progressed and now produces a range of vehicles that cover the whole spectrum, from the Fox through to the luxury end of the market with vehicles like the Touareg SUV. However, the Golf in it many guises, from its early beginnings in 1974, to the Mk6 of today, are models of car which has proved to be in the same category as the Beetle. It is Volkswagens best selling model with well over 25million cars being produced.
Because the range of Volkswagen has proved to be so popular, it follows that there are many excellent VW models in the used car sector. The Fox is a popular choice for buyers looking for a hatchback with low insurance ratings, the sturdy Polo in the supermini bracket, the Golf in petrol or diesel versions with all the top of the range additions such as climate control and electric windows and of course, not forgetting the Beetle which will turn a few heads.
Volkswagen is certainly a success story that nearly did not come about, it was thanks due to the efforts of a British Army Major Ivan Hirst in 1945 that at the end of the Second World War got production of Beetles started for use of the British Army and prevented the factory from being dismantled, to become the world’s third largest maker of motor vehicles.
As a company Volkswagen have stated that “naturally we're very proud of our heritage, few car manufacturers have produced so many legendary cars as Volkswagen. The Beetle, whose spirit lives on in our beautiful New Beetle, and the Golf, our modern masterpiece, which is why you'll find Volkswagen at the forefront of pioneering developments in design, technology and environmental initiatives.”