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My Favorite Automotive Brand (there may be a second edition of this book!)

Note: This book  has  its own “Automobile” Photo Page in my gallery section, including much Volkswagen sales literature, along with brochure photos of  Porsche, SEAT, Tatra, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa-Romeo, Willys, AMC, Eagle, Jeep, Studebaker and Packard – Please be sure to visit it.  Important updates to my Volkswagen book are to be found on my website page titled “Book Updates and Financial Updates by Marc Nonnenkamp” – merely scroll to the bottom of that page for the most current updates.

This book has been endorsed by the Athena Press of the United Kingdom (one of nine professional endorsements), and has been read by 35,149 people since November 2007.  It is now available (ISBN 978-1460922828) on for $19.99 paperback and the professional Amazon Kindle e-book edition ASIN B004WDZNTE (complete with working Internet links) retails for just $9.99.  The Barnes & Noble NOOKbook e-book edition also retails for $9.99.  Both of my books on Volkswagen are part of the official historical archives of Volkswagen A.G. in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The illustrations for the book have the official endorsement of – the largest VW enthusiast website in the world.  The Samba (based in Phoenix,  Arizona) has received more than 75 million visitors, 279 million visits and 4.9 BILLION page views since they were established in 1996 – more than 3,835 people have visited my store on  The book is also available from (in the USA, the UK, Canada, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, India, Brazil and Japan) and from other Internet retailers in Denmark, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.  This book is featured on 66 websites in 22 countries including the USA, the EU, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy, the Czech Republic, France, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, India, New Zealand and Azerbaijan.  My VW book is on the Amazon “Bestseller” list in the USA, the UK, Germany, Austria, Canada and France (top 3 percent of retail products).  Special thanks for compliments from Axel Berger, Ulrike Gutzmann, Ingrid Nonnenkamp, Paolo Ugang, Federico Borromeo, Ken Delano, Gilson Cordozo, Rich Borromeo, Rusty & Susie Leopoldshagen, William F. Benecke, A. Armsen, “Little” Barskamp, Barbara B. Tigerfeld, Everett Barnes, Chris Jansons, Gary Vroegh, Bob Olsen, Ted Kaufman, Ray Beale, Larry & Gerta Klages, Bob & Pauly Skiba, Bob Roth, John Spaulding, Jim Shortle, Randy Diego, Sonny Hasenmoor, Joyce Krause, Fred Perry, Jürgen Amtmann, Gitta Tost, Tony R. Cruz, Pilar Garmsen, Lucie Chaput and Francisco M. from Portugal.  Here is the link to the latest book review for my VW book by Glen Smale of “Vehicle Engineer” and “Motor Research” magazines of Wales in the United Kingdom (180 “likes” and “shares” to date):


The entire global economy is in tremendous turmoil today, largely due to the real estate – mortgage loan debacle in the United States of America.  The primary problem has been brought upon the world due to very high levels of indebtedness, and due to low levels of individual financial responsibility.  The impetus behind the problem is the central banking system, created to promote credit via the introduction of printed, “fiat” money into the economies of the world.  Fiat money is backed by nothing more than supposed trust in the system, unlike paper money backed by national gold reserves.  No form of fiat money has ever lasted for more than forty years.

Die Weltwirtschaft liegt jetzt in einer Krisensituation, die noch schlimmer ist als die Krise zwischen den beiden Weltkriegen.  Der Hauptgrund dafür ist die enorme Verschuldung, besonders in Amerika.  Die sogenannten “Zentralbanken” oder “Notenbanken” der Welt (besonders die Bank von England, die im Jahre 1694 gegründet wurde, und die US-amerikanische “Federal Reserve Bank,” die im Jahre 1913 gegründet wurde) haben die heutige “Kreditinflation” über 315 Jahre absichtlich aufgebaut.  Innerhalb von dreihundert Jahren hat das britische Pfund sowie der amerikanische Dollar etwa 97 Prozent am Wert verloren.  Viele große und berühmte Firmen sind schon (oder werden bald) bankrott gehen.  Die sogenannte “Staatshilfe” aus Amerika (US-Dollar $12,8 tausend-Milliarden) und Europa (US-Dollar $5,3 tausend-Milliarden Wert) wird die schon ganz gefährliche Situation noch verschärfen (anstatt sie zu verbessern).  Der Kern einer modernen Wirtschaft ist die schwere Industrie, und der Kern der schweren Industrie ist die Autoindustrie.

Die Amerikaner

Zwei Jahre nach dem Ende des zweiten Weltkrieges (im Jahre 1947) beherrschten die amerikanischen Autohersteller (General Motors, Ford und Chrysler) 92 Prozent des globalen Automarktes – aber heute nicht mehr.  Die mächtigen Amerikaner sind nicht mehr mächtig.  Die amerikanische Autoindustrie hat heute nur noch 12.79 Prozent des weltweiten Automarktes, und verliert monatlich Milliarden Dollars.  Die erfolgreichsten Autohersteller der Welt sind heute 1) Volkswagen-Porsche aus Deutschland und Österreich (die Marken Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, MAN, ERF, Scania, Suzuki und Porsche), 2) Honda aus Japan, 3) Daimler A.G. aus Stuttgart (die Marken Mecedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart, Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Fuso, Orion, Setra, Thomas und Detroit Diesel),, 4) Hyundai-Kia aus Südkorea, 5) John Deere aus Amerika, 6) Tata Motor Company aus Indien, 7) Caterpillar Tractor aus Amerika, 8) BYD (“Build Your Dreams”) aus China, 9) Paccar, Inc. aus dem Bundesstaat Washington in Amerika (die LKW-Marken Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF und Leyland) und 10) Chongqing-Lifan aus China.  Diese zehn Firmen verdienen und haben gespart insgesamt mehr als US-Dollar $168,962 Milliarden.  Danach kommen 23 verhältnismäßig neuere Autofirmen aus China, Indien, Rußland und Malaysien, die immer wichtiger werden.  Die anderen Kraftwagenhersteller aus Amerika (General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Harley-Davidson  und Navistar International),Japan(Toyota, Daihatsu, Fuji-Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Hino und Isuzu), Italien (Fiat-Chrysler), Frankreich (RenaultNissan und Peugeot-Citroën), Deutschland (BMW aus München und Adam Opel-Vauxhall aus Rüsselsheim) und Schweden (Volvo und Spyker-Saab) verlieren insgesamt im Jahr und haben Gesamtverschuldung von mehr als US-Dollar $274,813 Milliarden.
Die Gruppe VW-Porsche (the VW-Porsche Group)

Many household corporate names in the banking, mortgage, insurance, financial services, transportation, retail sales, manufacturing and automotive industries will go by the wayside.  Those in trouble are supposedly being helped with even more public sector government spending that in all honesty is taxpayer money and new public sector debt.  But the ironic thing is that the companies doomed to failure are those very same companies now being supposedly helped by the governments of the world.  Bankruptcy cannot merely be erased, and poorly-performing companies will eventually fail.  Government intervention will merely postpone the problem (and make it worse) – it will never fix the problem.

Die Gruppe Porsche, A.G. aus Deutschland und Österreich besitzt 30% von Volkswagen, A.G. ausWolfsburgin Niedersachsen.  Das Bundesland Niedersachsen besitzt 20% von Volkswagen, A.G., Katar (am persischen Golf im Mittelosten) besitzt 20% von Volkswagen und die Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft (UBS) aus Zürich besitzt fast vier Prozent von VW.  Der große Erfolg der globalen Autobranche ist die deutsch-österreichische Autogruppe Volkswagen-Porsche.  Die Gruppe VW-Porsche verdient (und hat gespart) heute 88.99 Prozent des Gewinns der weltweiten Autoindustrie.
The “core” of any modern economy is heavy manufacturing, and the core of heavy manufacturing is the automobile industry.  In 1947, theUnited States of Americaheld fully 92 percent of the global automotive market.  Since 1980, theUSAhas lost 38 million automotive and related industry jobs.  Where the automobile industry once provided almost one out of every two jobs in the United States, it now provides just one in ten.  The once mighty “Big Three” ofDetroit,Michiganmay soon be no more.


The most profitable motor vehicle groups on earth today (in terms of existing net liquidity minus unfunded liabilities plus current-year net profits) are:

1. Volkswagen-Porsche of Germany and Austria (the manufacturers of the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, MAN, Scania, Porsche and Cosworth plus their joint-venture partners of Suzuki, SAIC-Nanjing, FAW and GAZ-Volga: $150.356 billion

2. Hyundai ofSouth Korea(Hyundai and Kia): $4.9 billion

3. Daimler A.G. ofGermany(Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart, Freightliner,Sterling, Western Star, Fuso, Orion, Setra, Thomas and Detroit Diesel): $4.666 billion

4. Honda Motors ofJapan(Honda, Acura and Keiretsu memberKawasaki): $3.98 billion

5. Deere and Company (an American manufacturer of farm equipment, tractors and garden products such as lawn mowers): $2.468 billion

6. Tata Motors ofIndia(Tata, Jaguar and Land Rover): $970 million

7. Caterpillar Tractor of theUnited States(heavy construction and earth-moving equipment): $707 million

8. BYD or “Build Your Dreams” Company of Mainland China (a major manufacturer of lithium batteries for electric and hybrid motor cars, partially owned by Berkshire Hathaway of Omaha, Nebraska): $556 million

9. Paccar, Inc. Group ofWashingtonStatein theUnited States(the manufacturers of Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF and Leyland heavy commercial trucks): $202 million

10. Chongqing Lifang Company ofChina: $158 million

Behind them in profitability are 23 up-and-coming automotive companies from MainlandChina,IndiaandRussia.  They will change the face of the automobile industry all of us know so well – much likely sooner rather than later.

Volkswagen is 30% owned by Porsche A.G. of Germany, 20% by the German State of Lower Saxony (located in Northwestern Germany), 20% owned by Qatar (a nation on the Persian Gulf in the Middle East), 4% by Union Bank of Switzerland, 2% by VW employees (through their labor union) and 1% by Suzuki of Japan.  The general public owns 23 percent of Volkswagen.  A.G. stands for “Aktiengesellschaft,” which is the German word for “Joint Stock Company.”

Volkswagen, A.G. in turn owns 49% of Porsche and 20% of Suzuki, with the Porsche family owning 32% of Porsche, A.G. and the Porsche-Piëch family owning the remaining 19% of Porsche, A.G.  The robust profit of VW-Porsche stands in stark contrast to the losses having been and now being booked by so many other large automotive and vehicle manufacturing companies.  The following list shows companies in the worst financial shape.  Current year net income (either positive or negative) has been combined with net unfunded liabilities (mostly pensions, employee and retiree healthcare plus plant and equipment leases).  “Forgiveness” for past bankruptcy has been un-forgiven in my list.  Why do this?  When government entities go bankrupt, the liabilities will come back into play.  Government bankruptcy will become apparent when the next phase of the socioeconomic crash begins.  A perfect example is the now official eventual demise of both Fannie Mae (founded in 1938) and Freddie Mac (founded in 1970) in theUSA.  $10.67 trillion of owned and guaranteed mortgages will finally be subject to the reality of the free market.  When the loans go bad, there will be no public-sector bailout, people will lose their homes and banks will be left holding mortgage loans with little or no value.  Here is the list:

  1. General Motors Corporation (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Holden not including GM Europe): minus $173.98 billion
  2. Fiat, s.p.a. (Fiat, Lancia, Alfa-Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari, Iveco, Yugo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram): minus $41.477 billion
  3. Toyota(Toyota, Lexus and Scion): minus $38.22 billion
  4. Ford Motor Company (Ford and Lincoln): minus $13.5 billion
  5. Mitsubishi: minus $2.05 billion
  6. Peugeot,S.A.(Peugeot and Citroën): minus $1.572 billion
  7. Adam Opel G.m.b.H. (European arm of General Motors Corporation with the brands of Opel and Vauxhall): minus $1.274 billion
  8. RenaultNissan, B.V. (Renault,Dacia, Samsung, Lada, Mack, Volvo Truck, Nissan, Nissan Diesel and Infiniti): minus $1.015 billion

9.  Mazda: minus $596 million

10.  Spyker Cars (Spyker, Koenigsegg and Saab Auto): minus $582 million

11.  BMW A.G. (BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce): minus $260 million

12.  Harley-Davidson (motorcycles): minus $187 million

13.  Navistar International Mahindra: minus $100 million

How did Volkswagen become the tremendous success it is today?  Looking at its past, one would not necessarily have foreseen this.  Indeed, many automotive executives of the past believed Volkswagen had virtually no chance to succeed.  They could not have been more wrong.

Warum und wie ist Volkswagen, A.G. in Deutschland und weltweit so erfolgreich geworden?  Am Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges, im Mai 1945, lagen Deutschland und große Teile Mitteleuropas in Schutt und Asche.  Die Zukunft sah damals nicht sehr versprechend aus.  Viele Autoindustrieleute in Deutschland, und besonders im Ausland, waren zu der Zeit der Meinung, daß Volkswagen fast keine Möglichkeit für Erfolg hatte.  Sie waren auch der Meinung, daß der inzwischen berühmt gewordene Volkswagen Käfer Limousine kein gutes Fahrzeug war.  Diese sogenannten “Fachleute” haben sich allerdings im Irrtum befunden.  Das deutsche Volkswagenwerk, der zuverläßige Volkswagen Käfer und seine vielen  Nachfolger waren und sind immer noch die besten und die erfolgreichsten Kraftfahrzeuge der Weltgeschichte.

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951)

The man behind the idea for the “Volkswagen,” or the “peoples’ car” in German, was the now-famous engineer Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951).  He was an ethnic German born in the-then Austro-Hungarian Kingdom of Bohemia (“Königreich Böhmen” in German), part of the greatDanube“Habsburg-Lothringen” monarchy (an imperial and royal family name sometimes anglicanized to “Hapsburg-Lorraine”).  His father was the master metal-smith in the small German-Bohemian town ofMaffersdorf.  From his youth, Dr. Porsche was a highly innovative engineer who reached his goals with unorthodox solutions.  He introduced electricity into his parents’ home in 1894, at a time when most homes had no electricity whatsoever.

Der “Stammvater” des erfolgreichen deutschen Volkswagenist Prof. Dr.h.c. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951) aus Maffersdorf im österreichischen Königreich Böhmen.  Sein Vater war Maffersdorfs  Meistermetalschmied.  Von Anfang an war der zukünftige Prof. Dr. Porsche als Techniker hochbegabt.  Im Jahre 1894 hat der noch junge Ferdinand Porsche das Haus seiner Eltern elektrifiziert.  Von 1894 bis 1898 studierte er an der Technischen Universität in Wien.  Danach arbeitete er bei der österreichischen Autofirma Jacob Lohner, wo er im Jahre 1900 den “Lohner-Porsche Chaise” entwickelte.  Dieses Auto hatte kleine elektrische Motore in den kleinen Vorderrädern.  Im Jahre 1901 hat Ferdinand Porsche einen Benzin-Elektro Hybrid-Motorwagen entwickelt.  Die Japaner und auch die Amerikaner machen so etwas erst seit der letzten paar Jahre.  Im Herbst 1900 began Ferdinand Porsche auch seine erfolgreiche Rennsportwagen-Karriere.  Am 23. September 1900 kam der erste Sieg als seinen elektrischer Rennsportwagen eine Rekordhöchstgeschwindigkeit von ungefähr 40 Stundenkilometer erreichte.  Im Jahre 1906 trat Ferdinand Porsche in die Firma Steyr-Daimler-Puch als Technischer Direktor ein.  Zu der Zeit war dieser Autohersteller mit Daimler ausStuttgartin Württemberg verwandt.  Steyr-Puch ist heute mit Magna aus Kanada sowie mit GAZ-Wolga aus Rußland und Adam Opel aus Rüsselsheim in Südhessen (vormals Hessen-Darmstadt) verwandt.  Der Autohersteller Daimler, A.G. ist der “Stammvater” von Mercedes-Benz und Maybach aus Deutschland, Smart-Car aus Elsaß, Austro-Daimler aus Österreich sowie Daimler-Jaguar-Lanchester ausEngland.

Ferdinand Porsche was educated at the Technical University of Vienna from 1894 until 1898.  He began his professional career at the age of 23 in 1898 by working for existing Austrian car companies such as Jacob Lohner, where he built the “Lohner-Porsche Chaise” of 1900.  This novel car featured small electric motors built within its small front wheel hubs, and established Ferdinand Porsche as a designer with unique ideas.  In 1901, Porsche actually designed a hybrid automobile which ran on a combination of an internal combustion gasoline engine and an electric generator – this unique vehicle was christened the “Lohner-Porsche Mixed.”  He also began his professional racing career in the fall of 1900, which allowed him to prove his novel ideas by competing against other manufacturers.  Good publicity in the form of victories came immediately, with the first one achieved on September 23, 1900.  His electric racing car reached speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, which was an excellent (and local record) achievement for its time.

In 1906, Ferdinand Porsche accepted a new position as Technical Director of Austro-Daimler, parent of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch concern and a sister company of both Daimler of Germany (the eventual manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz motor cars) and Daimler of theUnited Kingdom(the eventual manufacturer of both Lanchester and Jaguar cars).  Austro-Daimler was a much larger company than Jacob Lohner, and allowed Porsche to build upon his success.  The most famous type of racing cars that he designed for them were the “Prince Henry Maja” cars.  With 30 BHP (brake horsepower), they reached speeds of up to 87 miles per hour in 1910.

Die erste Generation des deutschen Volkswagen waren Fahrzeuge mit luftgekülten Heckboxermotoren.  Boxermotoren sind einfacher als andere Motoren, und deswegen auch einfacher und günstiger beim Pflegedienst.  Der erste Boxermotor wurde im Jahre 1895 von Lanchester in England entwickelt.  Dr. Ferdinand Porsche hat seinen ersten Boxermotor im Jahre 1912 für die Luftwaffe (die “Kaiserliche und Königliche Luftfahrtruppen” von Österreich-Ungarn) entwickelt.  Dieser Motor wurde als Flugzeugmotor verwendet.  Zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkrieges (1914-1918) hat Dr. Porsche Benzin-Elektro Hybridmotoren-Lastkraftwagen für das Heer (die “Kaiserliche und Königliche Armee” von Österreich-Ungarn) entwickelt.  Diese großen und starken LKWs waren in den Tiroler Alpenpassen gegen Italien eingesetzt, und wurden beim Skodawerk im österreichischen Königreich Böhmen hergestellt.  Die berühmte Gruppe Skoda ist die größte Firma in Böhmen, und gehört nun zum guten Hause Volkswagen aus Wolfsburg in Niedersachsen.  Alle Moderne Skoda PKWs sind auf Fahrgestelle der VW-Gruppe gebaut.  Skoda Wagen sind heute in mehr als 90 Ländern rund um den Erdball erhältlich.

The very first “boxer motor” (where the cylinders and the valves are horizontally opposed, and thus “boxing” each other as they operate) was built by Lanchester of England in 1895.  Ferdinand Porsche built his first boxer motor in 1912, an aero engine built for the Austo-Hungarian Air Force, or the Imperial and Royal Air Troops (“Kaiserliche und Königliche Luftfahrtruppen” in German).  The same engine design would eventually find itself in a Volkswagen Beetle prototype passenger car in 1934.  Boxer engines feature greater simplicity compared to conventional engines where cylinders are mounted “in line,” and Dr. Porsche believed that they were just more efficient.

The aero engines designed by Ferdinand Porsche were used by the Central Powers of bothAustria-Hungaryand Imperial Germany during World War One from 1914 until 1918.  He also designed larger hybrid (gasoline and electric) motors to build trucks for the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Army, or “Kaiserliche und Königliche Armee” in German.  These large trucks would pull entire caravans of trailers through steep alpine passes in the Tyrol region ofWestern Austria.  They were manufactured by the industrial firm of Skoda, which is the largest company inBohemia(then an Austro-Hungarian kingdom and province).  Today, Skoda Auto is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group ofGermany, manufacturing and selling high-quality cars built on Volkswagen platforms in more than 90 countries around the world.

Am Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges im November 1918 wurden die vier Mittelmächte von Deutschland, Österreich-Ungarn, Bulgarien und die Ottomanische Türkei von den siegreichen westlichen Alliierten sehr schlecht behandelt.  Deutschland hat Elsaß-Lothringen, das Eupen-Malmedy Gebiet (jetzt in Belgien), Nordschleswig, das Memelland, Westpreußen mit Danzig, Posen, Oberschlesien, das Togoland und Kamerun (Deutsch Westafrika), Namibien (Deutsch Südwestafrika), Tansania, das Wituland, Burundi und Ruanda (Deutsch Ostafrika), Westsamoa (Deutschsamoa), Papua Neuguinea und Nauru (Deutsch Neuguinea), Palau, die Karolinen-Inseln, die Marshall-Inseln, die Marianen-Inseln (Deutsch Mikronesien), Tsingtau und Schantung (Deutsch Ostasien) verloren.  Österreich und Ungarn haben Südtirol, das Sudetenland, Böhmen, Mähren, Zips (die Slowakei), Krain (Slowenien), Galizien, Lodomerien, das Buchenland, Banat, Siebenbürgen, das Küstenland (Istrien), Kroatien, Slavonien, Bosnien und Herzegowina verloren.  Bulgarien hat Thrakien verloren.  Die Ottomanische (oder auch Osmanische) Türkei hat Syrien, Irak, Libanon, Palästina (heute Israel), Saudi Arabien, Koweit, Katar, Bahrain, Jemen, Oman sowie die Arabischen Emirate verloren.  Dazu mußten die besiegten Mittelmächte auch enorme Geldstrafen an Großbrittannien, Amerika, Belgien aber besonders an Frankreich zahlen.  Das Wirtschaftswesen in Mitteleuropa war deswegen fast total notleidend.  Weltweit gab es nach dem Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges eine unheimlich brutale Grippe, die mindestens 20 Millionen Menschen das Leben gekostet hat.  Im Jahre 1923 gab es die große Inflation und dann im Jahre 1929 die große Weltkriese mit sehr hoher Arbeitslosigkeit und viel Armut.  Deswegen haben bedauerlicherweise die Nazionalsozialisten sowie die Linken (Kommunisten) in Deutschland und Mitteleuropa so viele Wahlstimmen ab 1930 bekommen.  Darum war es fast unmöglich, für Leute neue Personenwagen zu kaufen.  Die meisten Leute in Mitteleuropa hatten auch nicht genug Geld um Motorräder oder Mofas zu kaufen.  Kleinere Autos wie Austin aus England und Citroën aus Frankreich haben sich verhältnismäßig besser verkauft, im Gegensatz zu größeren und teueren Autos wie Jacob-Lohner und Austro-Daimler aus Österreich oder Mercedes-Benz und Maybach aus Deutschland.  Austin existiert nicht mehr, aber die Marke gehört jetzt SAIC (Schanghai Automobil Industrie Gesellschaft)-NanjingausChina.  SAIC-Nanjing arbeitet heute sehr eng mit Volkswagen zusammen.  Citroën wurde eventuell von Peugeot gekauft, und verliert heute sehr viel Geld.

After the end of World War One in November 1918, the defeated Central Powers of Imperial Germany,Austria-Hungary,Bulgariaand Ottoman Turkey were stripped of much of their territory and forced to pay huge financial sums to the Western Allied Powers.  Much ofCentral Europewas left financially destitute, and the manufacture and sale of motor cars suffered like everything else in the devastated economies of those countries.  Expensive cars such as those built by Jacob Lohner and Austro-Daimler were out of reach for most people, who did not even own motorcycles, motor-scooters or horse-drawn carriages.  Most people had no form of transportation other than walking, riding a bicycle or using public transport such as trains or city streetcars.  In this depressed post-World War One period, non-German and non-Austrian automotive companies such as Austin of the United Kingdom and Citroën of France became rather successful due to the sale of smaller, more affordable passenger cars such as the Austin 7 and the Citroën 5CV. Austineventually merged with Rover of theUnited Kingdomto form Austin-Rover, which since went bankrupt and is now owned by SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation)-Nanjingof MainlandChina.  SAIC-Nanjing is today a major joint-venture partner of the Volkswagen Group ofGermany.  Citroën of France was since purchased by PeugeotS.A.ofFrance, which still exists today – but as a money-losing company receiving billions of Euros of bailout money from the French government.

Dr. Hans Ledwinka (1878-1967)

Ferdinand Porsche was friends with another great contemporary Austrian-born engineer named Dr. Hans Ledwinka (1878-1967).  Dr. Ledwinka was born in theprovinceofLower Austria(which surrounds the famous capital city ofVienna), but eventually moved to live and work in the Margraviate of Moravia (“Markgrafschaft Mähren” in German), then also a province of the great Austro-Hungarian Empire.  He was hired by a company known as “Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau” in German, which was based in the small Moravian town ofNesselsdorf.  Today, this same company is known by the name of “Tatra.”  The Tatra Mountains are situated in between modernUpper Silesia,BohemiaandMoravia(inPolandand theCzech Republic).  In fact, the late Pope John Paul II used to ski in the Tatra Mountains before he moved toVatican Cityto become Pope in 1978.

Dr. Hans Ledwinka (1878-1967) war Zeitgenosse und Bekannter von Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951).  Dr. Ledwinka wurde in Wien geboren, und arbeitete bei dem Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (heute “Tatra”) in der ehemaligen österreichischen Markgrafschaft Mähren.  Damals waren die zwei berühmten Firmen Skoda und Tatra miteinander verwandt.  Skoda wurde im Jahre 1859 gegründet, und hat ihren ersten PKW im Jahre 1895 (unter der Marke “Laurin und Klement”) entwickelt.  Skoda baut noch immer nicht nur Autos, sondern auch Turbinen, Elektro-Lokomotiven, Straßenbahnwagen und Eisenbahnwagen.  Skoda hat Schnellfeuerkanonen (SFK) für die Kaiserliche und Königliche Armee sowie für die Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine Österreich-Ungarns gebaut.  Der Nesselsdorferwagenbau wurde im Jahre 1850 als Aktiengesellschaft gegründet, und hat ihren ersten PKW im Jahre 1897 entwickelt – nur Daimler, A.G. aus Stuttgart in Württemberg (eigentlich Schwaben) und Peugeot, S.A. aus Frankreich haben Personenkraftwagen früher entwickelt.  Der Vorgänger von Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau hat Pferdeschlitten seit dem 17. Jahrhundert gebaut.  Dr. Ledwinka hat seine Karriere als Mechaniker angefangen.  Danach studierte er an der Universität, und wurde eventuell von 1917 bis 1921 Hauptkonstruktionsingenieur bei Steyr-Daimler-Puch und von 1921 bis 1945 bei Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (Tatra).  Dr. Ledwinka und Tatra sind berühmt wegen luftgekühlten Boxermotoren sowie V-Motoren.  Die modernen T-815 LKWs von Tatra haben starke (und auch saubere) luftgekühtle V-8, V-10 und V-12 Dieselmotoren.

The great manufacturing company of Tatra has been associated with the larger industrial firm of Skoda in the past.  Skoda was founded in 1859, and began making luxury motor cars in under the “Laurin & Klement” brand in 1895.  Skoda also manufactures turbines, electric locomotives, tramcars, trains and trolley buses to this very day.

Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau was incorporated in 1850 to manufacture horse-drawn wagons and carriages.  They built their first motor car in 1897, and changed their name to the current “Tatra” in 1919.  They still manufacture large commercial trucks today.  The forerunner of Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (while still an unincorporated business) had built horse-drawn sleighs and sleds going back into the 17th century.

Dr. Hans Ledwinka started his career as a mechanic, after which he earned a university degree.  He eventually became the Chief Design Engineer at Steyr-Daimler-Puch (owned by the Austro-Daimler company) from 1917 until 1921, and then worked as the Chief Design Engineer of Tatra from 1921 until 1945.  Tatra is famous for both “boxer” engines and air-cooling, which differentiated it from more conventional car companies where “in line” engines and water-cooling are used.  Today, the large commercial trucks built by Tatra use diesel engines with air-cooling.

Nach dem Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges wollten Ferdinand Porsche und Hans Ledwinka preiswertige Kleinwagen bauen.  Die beiden Automobilkonstrukteure glaubten an Zentralrohrrahmen, Pendelachsen und luftgekühlten Boxermotoren.  Im Jahre 1919 kam der neuentwickelte Tatra 11 zum Markt.  Das Fahrzeug hatte einen obengesteuerten, luftgekühlten Zweizylinder-Boxermotor mit 1056 quadratzentimeter Hubraum und 12 PS (Pferdestärke) Leistung.  Der Motor trieb über eine Mehrscheiben-Trockenkupplung und ein Vierganggetriebe mit Mittelschaltung die Hinterräder an.  Die erreichbare Höchstgeschwindigkeit des 680 kilogram-schweren Wagens lag bei 72 Stundenkilometer.  Das Fahrgestell hatte ein Zentralrohr, eine Vorderachse mit Querblattfeder und eine gelenklose Pendelachse mit Querblattfeder hinten.  Hand-und Fußbremse wirkten nur auf die Hinterräder.  Neben dem viersitzigen Tourenwagen gab es auch zwei-und viertürige Limousinen, Landauer, Cabriolets und Roadster mit Notsitz sowie sowie einen Lieferwagen mit Kastenaufbau.  Bis 1926 wurden 3,500 Exemplare des Tatra 11 hergestellt.  Im Jahre 1925 stellten die Tatrawerke einen Rennwagen vor, den “Tatra 12 Targa Florio.”  Dessen Motor gleichen Hubraums entwickelte bei 5,000 Umdrehungen pro Minute 27 PS und verlieh dem 560 kilogram-schweren Monoposto eine Höchstgeschwindigkeit von 120 Stundenkilometer.  Der Motor hatte zwei Einlaßventile pro Zylinder und das Fahrzeug war mit Vierradbremsen ausgestattet.  Karl Sponer gewann 1925 mit einem Tatra 12 das hochbeachtete sizilianische Targa Florio-Autorennen, was für die Tatrawerke und ihren Chefkonstrukteur Prof. Dr. Hans Ledwinka von großer internationalen Bedeutung war.  Als Nachfolger des Tatra 11 kam ab 1927 der Tatra 12 in den Handel.  Dessen Motor gleichen Hubraums erreichte zwischen 13 und 14 PS.  Im Unterschied zu seinem Vorgänger hatte er Vierradbremsen.  Neben den oben erwähnten Aufbauten gab es auch noch einen Sechs-Sitzer für die Forstwirtschaft, der unter dem Namen “Normandie” verkauft wurde.  Vom diesem Modell “Tatra 12” wurden bis 1930 11,498 Wagen gebaut.  Zwischen 1850 und 1918 baute Tatra insgesamt 161,672 Fahrzeuge, aber sie waren hauptsächlich größere sowie teuere PKWs mit auch luftgekühlten Boxermotor.

Ferdinand Porsche and Hans Ledwinka became very interested in the design of a small and affordable family car after the end of the First World War.  Both men shared their common ideas, which included the rear-mounted, air-cooled engine, independent suspension by coil springs or torsion bars, the central tube chassis and the swing axle.  These features were later to appear in the Volkswagen Beetle prototypes of 1932 through 1937.  The first affordable car built by Tatra was the Tatra 11 model of 1919.  This small family car featured a front-mounted, air-cooled boxer engine and can rightfully be seen as a technical ancestor of the Volkswagen Beetle.  Displacement was 1,050 cubic centimeters (ccm) and output was rated at 14 BHP (brake horsepower).  3,500 Tatra 11 vehicles were sold in between 1919 and 1926, in the form of a sedan, a convertible, a pickup truck and roadster.  11,498 Tatra 12 models followed from 1927 to 1930.  They were identical to the Tatra 11, except with brakes on all four wheels instead of just two.  Tatra / Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau manufactured and sold 161,672 vehicles from 1850 to 1918.  Most of the motor cars they built from 1897 to 1918 were larger and more expensive models, so the Tatra 11 was their first true “peoples’ car.”  But even their luxury cars used the technology of the boxer motor and air-cooling.

Inter-war Years (1919 to 1930)

Ferdinand Porsche continued to work for Austro-Daimler after World War One.  In 1922, he designed the Austro-Daimler “Sascha,” a 4-cylinder, 1,100 cubic centimeter (ccm) displacement racing car. It had a maximum output of 50 BHP (brake horsepower) and a top speed of 89 miles per hour – very impressive performance for a small engine of its time.

Im Jahre 1922 hat Ferdinand Porsche den vier-Zylinder Austro-Daimler “Sascha” Rennwagen entwickelt.  Hubraum lag bei 1,1 liter, Leistung bei 50 PS und die Höchstgeschwindigkeit bei 144 Stundenkilometer – was zu der Zeit für einen Kleinwagen erstaunlich war.  Im Jahre 1923  wurde Prof. Dr. Porsche Technischer Direktor bei Daimler, A.G. inStuttgart.  Die heutige Daimler, A.G. besitzt die Marken Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart Car (aus Elsaß), AMG, Freightliner (aus Oregon in Nordamerika), Sterling, Western Star, Thomas, Fuso (aus Japan), Detroit Diesel (aus Michigan in Nordamerika), Setra, Orion und Omniplus.  Freightliner,Sterling, Western Star, Thomas, Fuso undDetroitDiesel bauen LKWs, und Setra, Orion und Omniplus bauen Omnibusse.

In 1923, Porsche resigned from Austro-Daimler to move toStuttgart,Germanyand become the Technical Director of Daimler, A.G. – the parent company of Austro-Daimler ofAustria.  Both the modern companies of Daimler, A.G. (the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart Car, AMG, Freightliner,Sterling, Western Star, Thomas, Fuso, Detroit Diesel, Setra, Orion and Omnibus) and Porsche, A.G. (founded by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. and his son in 1947) are headquartered inStuttgarttoday. Stuttgartis also the capital of the modernGermanStateofBaden-Württemberg.  The state is located in Southwestern Germany, and was formed out of the old Grand Duchy of Baden (on the border with the Alsace, which is the German-speaking region of modern France), the Kingdom of Württemberg and the Principality of Hohenzollern (the latter being the ancestral land of the Royal House of Brandenburg-Prussia, which ruled modern Germany from 1871 to 1918).

While at Daimler, Ferdinand Porsche designed the famous sports cars known as the Mercedes-Benz S (for “Sport”), the Mercedes-Benz SS (for “Super Sport”) and the Mercedes-Benz SSK (for “Super Sport Kurz” or “Super Sport with a short wheelbase” in English).  He wanted to build a small family car instead of large luxury sports cars, but the conservative managers of Daimler would have none of it.  Therefore, Ferdinand Porsche resigned from Daimler in 1929 to become Technical Director and Chief Engineer of Steyr Werke, A.G. of Austria.  This company still exists today, and makes all-terrain vehicles for the Austrian military.  Unfortunately, Dr. Porsche’s time at Steyr did not last long – because Daimler of Germany purchased the company and Ferdinand Porsche did not want to work for Daimler again.

Bei Daimler, A.G. hat Ferdinand Porsche die berühmten Mercedes-Benz Sportwagen S (“Sport), SS (“Super Sport”), SSK (“Super Sport Kurz”) entwickelt.  Er wollte eigentlich einen preisgünstigen Kleinwagen entwickeln, aber der Vorstand von Daimler war damit leider nicht einverstanden.  Im Jahre 1929 wurde Prof. Dr. Porsche Technischer Direktor bei den Steyr Werken in Österreich.  Als Daimler, A.G. die Steyr Werke im Jahre 1930 gekauft hatte, entschied sich Prof. Dr. Porsche seine eigene Firma zu gründen.  Er machte sich daher selbständig und eröffnete am 1. Dezember 1930 ein Konstruktionsbüro, das am 25. April 1931 als “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche G.m.b.H., Konstruktionen und Beratungen für Motoren und Fahrzeugbau” mit Sitz in der Stuttgarter Kronenstraße 24, im Register für Gesellschaftsfirmen eingetragen wurde.  Die Firmenanteile lagen zu 70% bei Porsche, zu 15% bei dem Kaufmann und Rennfahrer Adolf Rosenberger (1900-1967) und zu 15% bei seinem Schwiegersohn, dem Wiener Rechtsanwalt Anton Piëch.  Zur Mannschaft von Technikern und Ingenieuren gehörten neben seinem Sohn Ferry (Ferdinand, Jr.) Porsche (1909-1998) unter anderen der Oberingenieur Karl Rabe (1895-1968), der Motorenspezialist Josef Kales, der Automobildesigner Erwin Kommenda (1904-1966) und sein Fahrer Goldinger.  Adolf Rosenberger sorgte dafür, daß trotz Auftragsmangel und Porsches Hang zu teuren Konstruktionen das Büro die Anfangszeit finanziell überstand, schied aber schon 1933 wieder aus und emigrierte in dieUSA.  Baron Hans von Veyder-Malberg wurde neuer kaufmännischer Leiter.  Als einer der ersten und wichtigsten Aufträge entwickelte 1931 das Konstruktionsbüro einen Kleinwagen (der “Porsche Typ 12”) für Zündapp in Nürnberg.  Der Prototyp hatte einen wassergekühlten 1,2 Liter 5-Zylinder Sternmotor.  Später wurde für NSU der Kleinwagen “Porsche Typ 32” entworfen, der bereits viele Gemeinsamkeiten mit der eventuellen Volkswagen Käfer Limousine aufwies.  Der NSU-Porsche hatte ebenfalls einen luftgekühlten Vierzylinder-Boxermotor im Heck und die patentierte Porsche-Drehstabfederung.

It was at this point that Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. decided to start his own company.  He made this fateful decision because he believed that the larger automobile manufacturers were too conservative in their business outlook (both technically and from the standpoint of marketing) and that they would not invest the money and resources to build an affordable family car.  Porsche believed that the world needed an affordable and reliable family car, because the depressed post-World War One economic conditions made it too difficult to sell luxury cars.  Up to this point, most people inCentral Europewere simply not affluent enough to purchase and own automobiles, motorcycles or even motor-scooters.

Dr.-Ing.h.c. Ferdinand Porsche (November 1930)

When Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. made the fateful decision to establish his own company, he hired people who became instrumental in the future of both Volkswagen and Porsche.  Most of these individuals had either worked with him in the past or were members of his own family.  Karl Rabe (1895-1968) of Austro-Daimler became his Head Designer, and Adolf Rosenberger (1900-1967) his Financial Manager.  Josef Kales (who had worked for both Skoda and Tatra) was his expert on air-cooled engines.  Erwin Komenda (1904-1966, who had worked for NSU, which was eventually purchased by Audi, A.G. – now a subsidiary of Volkswagen, A.G.) became his Body Designer.  Others included his professional driver (Goldinger) and his own son Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, Jr. (1909-1998).  The firm opened for business on December 1, 1930, and its most important plan was “Project 12,” the “Peoples’ Car.”

The “Culture” of Volkswagen

Most American auto companies are headed by finance people.  In the rest of the world, those who manage car companies are usually professional engineers.  This is most pronounced inGermany, but especially at Volkswagen, A.G.  To understand Volkswagen, one must be aware that it is “driven” by engineering.  Why is this so important?

Die Vorsitzenden der amerikanischen Autohersteller sind überwiegend Finanzmanager, aber in Asien, Europa und besonders in Deutschland sind die Vorsitzenden sowie die Topmanager der Autohersteller hauptsächlich technische Leute und Ingenieure.  Ganz klar ist das der Fall bei Volkswagen, A.G.  Alle Firmen in allen Branchen der Industrie wollen, sollen und müßen Gewinne verdienen.  Ohne Gewinne zu verdienen würde die Weltbevölkerung wieder in der Steinzeit leben.  Der Staat hat in der Geschichte nie Wohlstand geschöpft – im Gegenteil, vom Staat geführte Unternehmen führen immer zu Leid und Armut (der “soziale” Staat, der Sozialismus der Linken und der Rechten, sowie der Kommunismus).  Das beste Beispiel ist Rußland oder die ehemalige “Sowjetunion.”  Von 1917 bis 1991 haben dort fleißige und fromme Leute unter Sozialismus-Kommunismus-Marxismus sehr schwer gelitten.  Seit 1991 sind die Lebensbedingungen in Rußland und auch in anderen Ländern der ehemaligen UdSSR (in der Ukraine, Weißrußland, Litauen, Lettland, Estland, Moldawien, im Kaukasus, Sibirien und die Länder in Mittelasien) wesentlich gestiegen und man kann auch viele volkswirtschaftliche Fortschritte verzeichnen.  Und das ist auch der Fall inChina, wo ökonomische Fortschritte nur nach der wirtschaftlichen Liberalisierung im Jahre 1976 zu sehen sind.  Heute istChinadas größte Industrieland der Welt.  Das läßt sich auch in Indien sehen, wo es seit der Absage der Sozialismus enorme wirtschaftliche Fortschritte gegeben hat.  Heute ist Indien das größte Ingenieurwesenland der Welt.  Nur innerhalb einer freien Marktwirtschaft ist der Mensch eigentlich frei.  Eine private Wirtschaft ist ebenso wichtig wie die Freiheit des Glaubens und die Freiheit der Politik.  Ohne diese Freiheit ist der Mensch ein Sklave ohne Zufriedenheit, ohne Wohlstand und ohne positive Möglichkeiten.

It is taken for granted that everyone in the field of business, be they in the business of selling cars, tennis balls or pizzas, are in business to make money, or to earn a net profit.  This is the driving force of the free market system, which has lead to the prosperity which exists today.  If there were no free market (“for profit”) system, the human race would still be living in the Stone Age.  The alternative (if it can even be called that) is communal or social control by the government, which is of course communism or socialism.  The latter has inevitably lead to failure – which is so obvious when one looks at the world today.  A stark example isRussia, which lived under Marxism from 1917 until its bankruptcy in 1991.  ModernRussiais far more affluent than Soviet Russia was.  Even MainlandChina, which had a Communist revolution in 1949, has only turned more prosperous with free market reforms enacted since 1976. Indiais yet another large example – their modern prosperity is a result of their exchanging the socialism of the post-colonial era of 1947 for the free market of today.

Obwohl alle Firmen Gewinne machen wollen und müßen, wird dies auf verschiedene Art und Weise erreicht.  Zum Beispiel, die amerikanischen Autohersteller General Motors, Ford und Chrylser haben schon längere Zeit Anzahlung vom Käufer unterstützt.  Die Zinsen für diese Art des Verkaufens liegen oft um Null Prozent und eine Anzahlung vom Käufer ist oftmals nicht gefragt. Autohersteller in Japan, Südkorea, Frankreich, Italien,  Schweden undEnglandfolgten dem amerikanischen Beispiel.  Und aus Deutschland haben sich BMW und Mercedes-Benz diesen Gebräuchen angeschloßen. Die deutsche Ausnahme ist die Volkswagen Gruppe.  Probleme mit fragwürdigen und schlechten Krediten haben sich weltweit ausgebreitet und es ist besonders ausgeprägt in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika und in Großbrittannien.  Das Problem mit der Kreditinflation ist immer klarer zu sehen in Amerika seit der Gründung im Jahre 1913 von der Zentralbank (“Federal Reserve Bank”) und in Großbrittanien seit der Gründung im Jahre 1694 der dortigen Zentralbank (“Bank of England”).  Die “Bank ofEngland” ist Nachfolger des mittelalterlichen Templerorden, gegründet im Jahre 1118.  Die einflußreichen und mächtigen Tempelherren haben ihre ersten Darlehengeschäfte im Jahre 1135 angefangen.  Die Templer erfanden eine eigene Art von Kreditbriefen (Vorläufer der heutigen Banknoten), sowie Techniken der Buchführung.  Die Ordensmitglieder verwalteten um die 9,000 über ganz Europa verstreute Besitzungen.  Zu den bekanntesten zählen die Siedlung Tempelhove, sowie die beiden Hauptquartiere, der “TempleinParis” und die “TempleChurchinLondon.”  Die Siedlung “Tempelhove” ist heute als “Berlin-Tempelhof” bekannt.  Wegen der heutigen Kreditinflation steht die ganze Welt jetzt vor einer Krise, in Ausmaßen wohl größer als die in den 20er und 30er Jahren.  Viele Länder und viele Firmen stehen weltweit vor dem Bankrott.  Einige und wenige Ausnahmen schließen  Deutschland und die Volkswagen-Gruppe ein.

But then there are of course huge differences between countries, companies and people in a free market system.  If one is so totally obsessed with money, or “capital” as a means to an end, then I suppose one could truly care less about the “quality” of one’s work.  In other words, someone is earning money because they absolutely cannot wait to own a large home, a large car, other expensive consumer items and to enjoy whatever high-prices services.  In a way, this is sort of like putting the chicken before the egg.  It makes no good sense (it has no sense, and is thus “insane”).  If one were to go down this road, one would likely lose sight of reality, go hugely into debt and wind up losing far more money than ever imaginable in the end.  To enable this to occur, it would “help” to have a central banking system which would exist solely to inflate credit (a false form of money), which would allow governments, companies and individuals to go head-over-heels into debt.  Hence the current situation in the United States of America since the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, and in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since the establishment of the Bank of England in 1694.

The alternative to such an unhappy scenario would be to enjoy your work, to love your work and to make the best product (or to provide the best service) to your ability.  If you do this, and follow through, the financial profits will follow as well.  Which brings us back to Volkswagen in the automotive industry, and to their “parent,” Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.

In late 1930, Ferdinand Porsche finally decided to move forward with his “peoples’ car,” an affordable family car for (at that time) the people of continentalEurope.

Criteria for the “Volkswagen” (= “Peoples’ Car”)

If many people were to afford a car, it had to be low in original purchase price and financially economical to own and operate.  The car had to be durable (of high and enduring quality, with good reliability) and should have the ability to operate on a less than perfect system of roads, not all of which were yet paved.  Most of the roads inEuropebefore World War Two were built for equestrian travel – not for motor vehicles.  The car should also retain its value as a well-maintained used vehicle.  The design of the small car had to be simple enough that it would be easy and economical to produce in a very large quantity or unit volume.  And since the car would be widely sold (it should be a popular car), replacement or spare parts would have to be relatively inexpensive (as opposed to being of “cheap” or lesser quality), of high quality and easy to obtain.  One would require a wide and well-stocked retail or dealership network, with adequate parts on hand (as opposed to a “just in time” system of inventory).  In fact, Volkswagen dealerships of the future would be required to have enough spare parts on hand to actually assemble an entire car.  If they failed to do this, they would risk losing their cherished and lucrative franchise.  In addition to this would be the required virtues of easy engine-starting (in any climate or type of weather), good road handling, driver and passenger comfort, and of course safety.

Was war das Kennzeichen oder was waren die Prüfsteine des Volkswagens?  Wenn der Wagen so preisgünstig zu kaufen und in Betrieb einzusetzen wäre, sollte er auch dauerhaft sein.  Der preisgünstige Kleinwagen sollte von hoher Qualität sein, und mußte auch sehr zuverläßig sein.  Vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg waren viele Straßen in Europa nicht gepflastert.  Die europäischen Straßen waren für den Pferdeverkehr, und noch nicht für den Kraftwagenverkehr geeignet.  Die Produktionsmasse des Volkswagens (d.h. der zukünftige “Käfer” Limousine) sollte auch sehr groß sein, und die Ersatzteile des Wagens mußten leicht erhältlich sein.  Nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges (zur Zeit des deutschen Wirtschaftwunders) mußte jeder Volkswagenhändler weltweit genug Ersatzteile haben, einen vollständigen Volkswagen zu montieren.  Wenn er das nicht machen konnte, würde er sein begehrtes Volkswagengeschäft verlieren.  Dazu sollte der Volkswagen ein sicherer und bequemer Kleinwagen sein, der seinen Fahrer viel Vergnügen beim Fahren geben sollte.  Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche entschied sich auch, daß der Volkswagen einen Motor direkt über den Antriebrädern haben sollte, um einen langen Fahrantrieb zu vermeiden.  Der Boxermotor des Volkswagens der ersten Generation war auch einfacher, kleiner und leichter als andere Motoren.

Ferdinand Porsche decided on a rear-mounted engine in order to avoid a long driveshaft, since the car was to have rear-wheel drive.  This would also save on weight, give the passengers more interior room between the wheel axles and allow a greater volume of production.  He decided to use a horizontally-opposed “boxer motor” to save on parts and weight as well – by design it would necessarily be simpler, smaller in size and it would weigh less compared to a more conventional engine where the cylinders are “in line.”  Porsche also wanted a platform type of frame (a “pan”) with a rigid and strong central backbone (tube) and outriggers, using a swing axle for the rear wheels and torsion bar suspension in the front of the car.  The car would be small in size, easy to park, able to accommodate four or five passengers (the size of a standard European family), be as light as possible and have an aerodynamically streamlined body (hence the “Beetle” shape).  The body of the car would offer as little wind resistance as possible, being thus far more efficient to move and economical to run.

The Volkswagen Beetle Prototypes

In 1931, Ferdinand Porsche designed his first aerodynamic “Beetle” shaped car body.  It was built for his own personal car, a 3,25 liter Wanderer sedan.  Wanderer was one of four German car companies (Wanderer, Audi, Horch and DKW) which were to eventually merge and form the “Auto Union” company in 1932.  This grew into the modern company of Audi-NSU, which was purchased by Volkswagen in 1964.  Today, the Audi Division of Volkswagen has become the most successful luxury car maker in the entire world, immediately ahead of fellow German car companies BMW and Mercedes-Benz.  Modern Audi includes the active brands of Audi (fromBavariain Southern Germany), SEAT (from the city of BarcelonainSpain) and Lamborghini (high performance sports cars fromItaly).  The 3,25 liter Wanderer was of course much larger than the future Volkswagen Beetle Sedan, but it served a useful purpose in testing the aerodynamic Beetle-like shape car body.

Im Jahre 1931 hat Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche seine erste aerodynamische “Käfer” Karosserie entworfen.  Der Wagen war seine persönliche 3,25-Liter Wanderer Limousine, die doch wesentlich größer als der eventuelle deutsche Volkswagen war.  Im Jahre 1932 fusionierten sich Wanderer, Audi, Horch und DKW, und bildeten die “AutoUnion.”  Im Jahre 1964 hat Volkswagen die moderne Audi-NSU von Daimler-Benz gekauft.  Heute ist Audi die erfolgreichste (d.h. die meistgekaufte) Luxusmarke der Welt – noch größer als entweder BMW-Mini (Nummer Zwei) oder Daimler, A.G. (Nummer Drei).  Die heutige Audi, A.G. besitzt die Marken Audi (ausIngolstadtin Bayern), SEAT (ausBarcelonain Spanien), Lamborghini (Luxussportwagen aus Italien) und Quattro (Allradantrieb aus Deutschland).  Zwischen 1932 und 1933 hat Prof. Dr. Porsche drei “Volksauto” Prototypen für den ehemaligen Motorradhersteller Zündapp entwickelt.  Dr. Fritz Neumeyer (der Vorsitzender von Zündapp) wollte einen waßergekühlten Fünfzylindermotor, weil er den Boxermotor als zu “radikal” sah.  Die “Käfer” Karosserie des 3,25-Liter Wanderer hatte beim Zündapp Volksauto großen Einfluß, aber der Motor war leider kein Erfolg.  Im Jahre 1934 hatte Dr. Fritz Neumeyer endlich entschieden kein “Volksauto” zu bauen, weil sich der Absatz der Zündapp Motorräder inzwischen verbessert hat.

The first company to hire Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s new firm to design a possible “peoples’ car” was the Zündapp motorcycle company ofGermany.  A total of 3 cars were built for them in 1932 and 1933 (two in 1932 and one in 1933, respectively).  The company insisted that Porsche alter his design to include a 5-cylinder, water-cooled engine, because the company President (Dr. Fritz Neumeyer) believed that the air-cooled boxer motor was too radical a design.  Since Zündapp was paying for this particular project, Porsche agreed to alter his design to meet their specifications.  The aerodynamic “Beetle” like shape used in Porsche’s personal Wanderer car was modified to fit the body of the small Zündapp prototype.  The prototype cars (one of which still exists in a German museum) were not an initial success, and since motorcycle sales increased in 1932, Dr. Fritz Neumeyer decided to terminate the project.  The in-line, water-cooled engine tended to overhead, and was difficult to access for repairs.

The second company to hire Dr. Ferdinand Porsche to design a possible “peoples’ car” was the NSU car company of Neckarsulm inSouthern Germany, which is now part of Volkswagen’s Audi Division.  Three prototype cars were built in 1934, one of which can be seen fully restored at theVolkswagenMuseuminWolfsburginNorthern Germany.  These cars were much more similar to the eventual Volkswagen Beetle, and technically they were very sound.  A rear-mounted, air-cooled, boxer motor was used, with a capacity of 1,470 cubic centimeters (ccm) and output of 20 BHP (brake horsepower).  The car could reach a top speed of 73 miles per hour, and the surviving example registered more than 320,000 kilometers (200,000 miles) on the odometer before being retired and restored for theVolkswagenMuseum.  The reason this nice little car did not enter volume production is that NSU formed an alliance with Fiat of Italy in 1934.  The terms of their agreement dictated that Fiat would build passenger cars and that NSU would build motorcycles.  NSU-Fiat cars were sold inGermanywell into the 1960s, or almost twenty years after the end of the Second World War.

Im Jahre 1934 hat Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche drei “Volksauto” Prototypen für NSU aus Neckarsulm gebaut.  Das Volksauto von NSU war der eventuellen deutschen Volkswagen Käfer Limousine schon sehr ähnlich.  Der 1,47-Liter Heckboxermotor hatte eine Leistung von 20 PS und eine Höchstgeschwindigkeit von 117 Stundenkilometer.  Eins von den drei originalen Exemplaren kann man heute beim Automuseum Wolfsburg sehen.  Dieses Auto wurde vor der Restaurierung schon 320,000 Kilometer gefahren – eine ganz gute Leistung, aber für einen Volkswagen gut möglich.  Zu der Zeit hat sich NSU entschieden, das “Volksauto” nicht zu bauen, weil NSU aus Bayern und Fiat aus Italien ein Abkommen trafen.  Die Partnerschaft bedeutete, daß NSU nur Motorräder und Fiat nur PKWs herstellen durften.  Am 30. Januar 1933 wurde Adolf Hitler der Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei (die “NSDAP”) Kanzler des Deutschen Reiches.  Adolf Hitler war der 130. Kanzler des Deutschen Reiches seit dem Jahre 350 nach Jesus Christus.  Obwohl Hitler nie Autofahren gelernt hat, war er von Autos total begeistert.  Als Politiker hatte Hitler das deutsche Volk unter anderen versprochen, einen preisgünstigen deutschen Volkswagen zu entwickeln.  Die Idee eines preiswertigen Kleinwagens hatte Hitler von Henry Ford, Sr. (1863-1947) aus den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika bekommen.  Zwischen 1908 und 1927 hat Ford ungefähr 16,5-Millionen Exemplare von den “Ford Model T” verkauft.  Deswegen war Ford zur Zeit der größte Autohersteller der Welt.  Zwischen 1861 und 1908 war Studebaker aus demUS-BundesstaatIndianader größte Wagenhersteller der Welt.  Studebaker wurde von Deutschen Einwanderern ausSolingengegründet (die Familie hieß eigentlich “Stutenbecker”).  Von 1927 bis 2008 war General Motors Corporation der größte Autohersteller der Welt.  General Motors ging kürzlich beinahe bankrott, mit einer negativen Bilanzsumme von mehr als $90 Milliarden US-Dollar.

The KdF-Wagen

Soon after Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) became Chancellor of Germany in January 30, 1933 (equivalent to “Prime Minister” in most English-speaking countries, which denotes the head of the government), one of his many promises to the German electorate was “a car for every family.”  Hitler was certainly very enthusiastic about motor cars, and he was the most travelled politician of the time.  But nevertheless, he never learned how to drive a car – all of his motor travels were as a passenger, with a professional driver at the controls of the car.  Hitler obtained the idea for a mass market car forGermanyafter reading the biography of Henry Ford, Sr. (1863-1947) of theUnited States.  The elder Mr. Ford was a successful free market business manager who revolutionized society in theUnited Stateswith the success of the Model T Ford, more than 16 million examples of which were sold between 1908 and 1927.

But Adolf Hitler was no free market business manager.  Hitler was born in the city of Braunau am Inn (“Braunau on the River Inn” in English) in the Austrian province of Upper Austria, an alpine region on the border with the Southern German State of Bavaria.  His father Alois Hitler (1837-1903) was a civil servant who worked for the Austro-Hungarian Customs Service (“Zolldienst” in German).  Adolf Hitler never fully finished his education, and barely subsisted as a less-than-successful water-color painter in the Austrian city ofLinzprior to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) war auf jeden Fall kein Geschäftsmanager.  Er wurde am 20. April 1889 in Braunau amInnin Oberösterreich geboren.  Sein Vater Alois Hitler (1837-1903) war österreichischer Beamter beim Zolldienst.  Adolf Hitler hat seine Künstlerausbildung nicht abgeschloßen, und war vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg ein erfolgloser Maler inLinz.  Er fand es äeußerst schwer, fast unmöglich, Menschen oder Tiere zu malen.  Seine Aquarellmalerei sah nicht “lebendig” aus.  Politisch war Adolf Hitler sehr extrem – nicht nur für heute, aber auf jeden Fall für das damalige Mitteleuropa.  Wenn es keine Wirtschaftskrise in den 20er und in den 30er Jahren gegeben hätte, wären Adolf Hitler und seine Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) nie zur Macht gekommen.  In einer freien Reichstagswahl haben die Nationalsozialisten nie mehr als 44 Prozent der gültigen Stimmen bekommen (das geschah im März 1933).  Leider haben die alten “Deutschnationalen” (die Anhänger der ehemaligen Hohenzollern Monarchie von Brandenburg-Preußen) eine Regierungskoalition mit der NSDAP gebildet.  Die Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP) hat 8 Prozent der damaligen gültigen Stimmen bekommen.  Die Vorsitzenden der DNVP (Männer wie Franz von Papen) hofften, daß sie Adolf Hitler und seine Partei beeinflussen konnten – aber das geschah leider nicht.  Hitler ist im August 1914 von Linz in Oberösterreich nach München in Bayern umgezogen, weil er in der Kaiserlichen und Königlichen Armee von Österreich-Ungarn nicht dienen wollte.  Er hat sich bei der Königlichen Bayerischen Armee freiwillig gemeldet, weil er so rasistisch war, da er leider nicht mit “Nichtgermanen” dienen wollte.  In Österreich-Ungarn war dreiviertel der Bevölkerung nicht Deutsch – sie waren überwiegend kaisertreue Ungarn, Tschechen, Mähren, Slowaken, Slowener, Kroaten, Serben, Montenegraner, Bosniaken, Polen, Weißruthener, Rumänier und auch Italiener aus Südtirol und Istrien (“Küstenland” auf deutsch).

As is known today, Hitler was a most extreme racist who held profoundly negative views of most people who were not “Germanic” (i.e., German, Austrian, Swiss, Dutch, Flemish, Frisian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic or English).  His extreme racial views were never held by anything but a small minority of people on the political fringe inGermany, and had there been no socioeconomic depression in 1929, his radical right wing National Socialist Party (shortened to “Nazi” in German) never would have come to power.  The Nazi Party never received more than 44% of the popular vote in a free nationwide election inGermany.  The tragedy is that the old German Nationalist Party combined forces with him (they had 8% of the popular vote in late 1932) in the erroneous belief that they could “control” the Nazis.  Tragically, things worked in the exactly the opposite way, and the old Nationalists were outlawed along with all other political parties inGermanylater in 1933.

Hitler and his Nazis called the Germanic people “Aryan,” which is something of a misnomer.  “Indo-Aryan” is the proper term, but this refers to most Caucasian people, and not merely to those people who are just Germanic.  The source of the Indo-Aryan people is inNorthern India.

Adolf Hitler moved fromLinzin Upper Austria toMunichinBavariain August 1914 to join the Imperial German Army.  He deserted his native land of Austria-Hungary, because he despised the multi-ethnic Habsburg Monarchy which included not just German Austrians, but millions of loyal Hungarians, Czechs, Moravians, Slovaks, Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Montenegrins, Bosnian Muslims, Poles, Ruthenians (Ukrainians), Magyars (Hungarians), Romanians and Italians.

During World War One, Hitler never rose above the rank of a Corporal in the Royal Bavarian Army (Germany had no national army, but a collection of numerous provincial armies prior to 1935).  This had nothing to with ability (or lack thereof), but social standing at birth.  Before 1935, only members of the nobility would become commissioned officers and only members of the middle class would become non-commissioned officers.  The great masses of the soldiers from the working class and peasantry were confined to the enlisted ranks, from which they had no opportunity for promotion.  Hitler was wounded twice in the trenches of the Western Front, and was decorated for bravery with the Iron Cross, Second Class.  Once again, higher decorations such as the Iron Cross, First Class and especially the “Pour l’Merit” (the “Blue Max” of Brandenburg-Prussia) were reserved for men of higher social standing and rank.

Zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkrieges (1914-1918) war Adolf Hitler ein Gefreiter der königlichen bayerischen Armee.  Vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wurden nur Adelige Offiziere, und Bürgerliche nicht höher als Unteroffizier.  Die große Mehrheit der Bevölkerung von Arbeitern und Bauern wurden nur Infanteristen und Gefreiter.  Auf jeden Fall war Hitler kein befähigter Feldherr.  Nach dem Ersten Weltrkrieg wurde Adolf Hitler gefährlich als 16. Mitglied der NSDAP, und dann als “Führer” der Partei wurde.  Aber seine Splitterpartei wurde nur ab 1930 wirklich für Deutschland gefährlich, weil sie wegen der wirtschaftlichen Krise in Mitteleuropa verhältnismäßig viele gültige Wahlstimmen bekam.  Im Jahre 1930 wurde die NSDAP Deutschlands Zweitgrößte politische Partei, im Jahre 1932 wurde sie die größte Partei und am 30. Januar 1933 bildete sie die deutsche Regierung.  Nach dem Tod von Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934) am 2. August 1934 wurde Hitler nicht nur Reichskanzler sondern auch das Staatsoberhaupt – und nicht mehr “Präsident” sondern selbsternannter “Führer” des deutschen Vaterlandes.  Zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte wurde Deutschland ein Einparteistaat und eine Diktatur.

Adolf Hitler turned dangerous after the First World War, when he joined (and molded) the fledgling National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the Nazi Party) in very late 1918.  He became the party’s 16th member.  The party remained tiny until 1930, when the great global depression catapulted it to becomeGermany’s second largest party overnight.  In 1932, it became the largest party inGermanyand in early 1933 formed the German government.

After 1918, Hitler never “worked for living” in the real sense of the word.  He was a professional politician (which is no compliment), a master orator (and a demagogue) and a dangerously effective political organizer.

Obwohl Adolf Hitler keine geschäftliche oder technische Kenntnisse hatte, waren seine Anforderungen für den deutschen Volkswagen denen von Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche sehr ähnlich.  Der neue Kleinwagen des deutschen Volkes sollte eine Höchstgeschwindigkeit von 100 Stundenkilometer auf den neuen Autobahnen erreichen.  Der Kraftstoffverbrauch des Wagens sollte nicht mehr als 7 Liter pro 100 Kilometer sein.  Der Kleinwagen sollte genug Platz für vier oder fünf Personen haben (das heißt zwei Erwachsene und zwei oder drei Kinder) – die Größe einer damaligen durchschnittlichen deutschen Familie.  Der Motor des Wagens sollte mit Luft gekühlt sein, weil die meisten deutschen Familienhäuser keine Garagen hatten.  Der Kaufpreis des Kleinwagens mußte sehr niedrig sein (1,000 Reichsmark), damit so viele deutsche Familien wie möglich einen deutschen Volkswagen kaufen konnten.  Der Kaufpreis des Volkswagens war die einzige Forderung des Wagens, die total unrealistsich war.  Wie vorher erwähnt, war Adolf Hitler überhaupt kein Geschäftsmanager – vom Geschäft hatte der ehemalige Maler und derzeitige Politiker gar keine Ahnung.  Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche wußte, und die anderen Autohersteller wußten, daß der derzeitige Niedrigkaufspreis eines deutschen Kleinwagens um 1,600 Reichsmark liegen sollte – sechzig Prozent mehr als die Forderung des sogenannten “Führers.”  Wie immer, war es ganz notwendig, Gewinne zu verdienen.  Leider wissen viele Politiker davon gar nichts – besonders die sogenannten “Sozialisten,” die Linken wie auch die Rechten.

Although he had no technical knowledge or business acumen, Hitler’s requirements for a small family car were uncanny in their resemblance to Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s concept for a “people’s car”:

1.)    Top speed of 100 kilometers per hour (62 MPH) to run onGermany’s future super-highways (the “Autobahn”).

2.)    Consumption of gasoline to be no more than 7 liters per 100 kilometers of distance, or 33 miles per gallon.

3.)    Seating to accommodate 4 to 5 individuals, so average German families could fit into one vehicle.

4.)    Air cooling for the power-plant, because most German homes had no enclosed garages for cars.

5.)    Low purchase price of 1,000 Marks (or about US $250 in 1933).  This was the only ridiculous requirement, because no car company could have done this in a free market environment at that time.  Realistically, the price of a least expensive car would have been almost 60 percent higher than Hitler’s demand.

Shortly after Hitler made his politician’s “promise” to the German people for a “car in every family,” Hitler called Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. toBerlin.  Out of this meeting came Hitler’s decision to support with taxpayer money both Daimler (the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz cars) and Auto Union (the new merged company combining the four German car companies of Wanderer, Audi, Horch and DKW) in an effort to design, build and compete with brand new racing cars.  Hitler was obsessed with international competition, and auto racing was just one example.  Other examples were in sports and ultimately in the deadly field of military conquest.

Kurz nachdem Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche und Adolf Hitler sich kennen lernten, entschied sich Adolf Hitler der Auto Union und Daimler-Benz Staatshilfe zu geben für die Entwicklung besserer Rennsportwagen.  Für den Rennsport war das sicherlich ein Vorteil.  Hitler war von dem internationalen Wettbewerb besessen.  Bei dem Rennsport war das nicht schlecht, aber bei der Geopolitik wurde es ab September 1939 besonders schlecht.  Für die Entwicklung des deutschen Volkswagens waren die ersten offiziellen Prototypen im Jahre 1935 bedeutend.  V.1 (“Versuchsauto Nummer Eins” = eine Limousine) und V.2 (“Versuchsauto Nummer Zwei” = ein Kabriolett) waren die ersten  Modelle des inzwischen berühmten Volkswagen Käfers.  Der 0,895 Liter Boxermotor des Wagens hatte eine Leistung von 22 PS (Pferdestärke).  Den wieder neukonstruierten V.1 kann man heute im Automuseum Wolfsburg besichtigen.  Der Wagen ist rot lackiert, und kostete ungefähr 350,000 Euro.  Im Jahre 1936 wurden drei Prototypen des “VW3” Wagen gebaut.  Der luftgekühlte Boxermotor des VW3 war etwas größer mit 0,984 Liter, aber die Leistung lag noch bei 22 PS.  Ein neugebautes Exemplar des VW3 ist heute im Automuseum Wolfsburg ausgestellt.  Der Wagen ist dunkelblau lackiert.  Im Jahre 1937 wurden von Daimler-Benz inStuttgartnoch 30 Prototypen unter den Namen “VW30” hergestellt.  Der Motor des VW30 war dem des VW3 ähnlich.  Ein neukonstruiertes Examplar eines VW30 existiert heute im Besitzt eines privaten Sammlers in Belgien.  Der Wagen ist dunkelgrau lackiert.

Aside from building racing cars for Auto Union, Dr. Porsche also proceeded with his work on a peoples’ car, and this time with the official financial backing of the German government.  He decided to take the design he had made for NSU, and to improve upon it.  The very first two prototype passenger cars (one enclosed sedan and one cabriolet) to use the same chassis (platform) as the rear-engined, air-cooled Volkswagen “Beetle” known to the entire world were built by Dr. Porsche and his staff inStuttgart,Germanyin 1935.  These were known as the “V.1” and “V.2” for “Versuchs 1” and “Versuchs 2” in German.  The English translation would denote a trail or test car.  These cars were equipped with a small 895 cubic centimeter (ccm) engine which produced 22 BHP (brake horsepower).  A remanufactured sedan example can be seen in theVolkswagenMuseuminWolfsburg,Germanytoday.  The exterior color of the museum car is red, and it cost roughly US $500,000 to build to the exact historical specifications.

In 1936, three more prototypes were made, all enclosed sedans with the denotation of “VW3,” or “three examples of the peoples’ car” in English.  One remanufactured example may also be seen in theVolkswagenMuseum(“Automuseum Wolfsburg”) inGermanytoday.  The museum car is dark blue in color.  These cars had slightly larger rear engines with a capacity of 984 cubic centimeters (ccm), but the same output of 22 BHP (brake horsepower).

In 1937, a further 30 more prototype cars were made, again all enclosed sedans with the denotation of “VW30,” or “thirty examples of the peoples’ car” in English.  These cars used the same 984 cubic centimeter (ccm) engines with an output of 22 BHP (brake horsepower).  At least one remanufactured car exists in a private collection inBelgiumtoday.  The exterior color of the restored car is dark gray.  The German government ordered Daimler to build these thirty cars, which were rigorously tested by drivers employed by the S.S. (“Schutz Staffeln” in German or “protection squads” in English).  The head of the S.S. was “Reichsführer” Heinrich Himmler, a former chicken farmer and National Socialist crony of Adolf Hitler).  The S.S. was divided into twelve (12) official branches, five of which were primarily responsible for the terrible crimes committed inGermany’s name from 1941 to 1945.  The building of the “peoples’ car” was not connected with these five branches.

In 1938, 44 pre-production cars were built, and in 1939 yet another 50 examples were hand-built.  Most of these vehicles were enclosed sedans, but a very small number were convertibles.  Most had an exterior color of black, and some were a dark blue-gray color.  These cars were the first ones to be fitted with bumpers, hub caps and small oval-shaped split rear windows.  Their body style would later be re-introduced to a much different world in the late Spring of 1945.  The prototype cars built in 1937 had rear windows fitted within the interior of the car; the large rear engine lids were equipped with louvers through which the driver could see in his rear-view mirror.  A very few examples of the 1938 and 1939 pre-production cars may be seen in theVolkswagenMuseuminWolfsburg,Germanytoday.  I believe that one other remanufactured car can be seen in theToyotaMuseuminJapanas well.

Im Jahre 1938 wurden 44 und im Jahre 1939 wurden 50 Produktionsprototypen des Volkswagen Käfers hergestellt.  Die meisten Wagen waren Limousinen, aber einige Exemplare wurden als Faltdachlimousinen und als Kabrioletts hergestellt.  Die Mehrheit der Produktionsprototypen waren schwarz, aber einige waren auch dunkelblaugrau lackiert.  Diese Wagen wurden schon mit Stoßstangen, Radkappen und Heckbrezelfenster ausgestattet.  Der deutsche Volkswagen war endlich in seiner endgültigen Form zu sehen – genau wie er auch gleich nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges aussehen würde.  Im Jahre 1937 hatten die Prototypen der Serie “VW30” kleine Heckfenster innerhalb des Wagens, und das erlaubte den Fahrer im Rückspiegel durch die Motordeckelschlitzen zu sehen.  Einige restaurierte Exemplare der Produktionsprototypen sind heute im AutomuseumWolfsburgzu sehen.  Ein neukonstruiertes Exemplar ist auch bei dem Toyota-Museum inJapanausgestellt.  Am 26. Mai 1938 fand die Grundsteinlegung des Volkswagenwerkes in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben statt.  Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Adolf Hitler sowie Dr. Robert Ley (Vorsitzender der Deutschen “Arbeitsfront”) waren anwesend.  Der Name des deutschen Volkswagens war nun (von Mai 1938 bis Kriegsende im Mai 1945) “der KdF-Wagen,” oder der “Kraft durch Freude” Wagen der Deutschen Arbeitsfront.  KdF der Deutschen Arbeitsfront besaß auch Vergnügungsdampfschiffe auf denen deutsche Familien kostengünstige Ferienreisen nehmen konnten.  “KdF-Wagen” war für einen freien Wirtschaftsmarkt kein guter oder realistischer Name, aber wie schon erwähnt war das Dritte Deutsche Reich leider ein sozialistischer Staat.  Das Grundstück des Volkswagenwerkes in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben (damals “die Stadt des KdF-Wagens” genannt) gehörte ursprünglich einer adeligen Familie.  Allerdings hat die Regierung des Dritten Reiches sichdasLandder adeligen Familie für einen Spottpreis angeeinigt – noch mehr Fehler eines sozialistischen Staates.

The huge government-built factory now inWolfsburgwas erected near the Lower SaxonvillageofFallersleben.  The cornerstone laying ceremony was a massive public event, at which Adolf Hitler presided on May 26, 1938.  The other big National Socialist Party official at the ceremony was Dr. Robert Ley, who headed the National Socialist German Labor Front, or “Arbeitsfront” in German.  All German labor unions had been forced to become a part of this organization, and it was to be in charge of the mass production of the brand new German peoples’ car.  The official name of the car (which no one in Dr. Porsche’s staff liked, but of course they had no say in the matter) was the “KdF-Wagen,” or “Kraft durch Freude” Wagen.  The English translation of this is the “Strength through Joy” car.  KdF was part of the National Socialist Labor Front, and was a huge national organization which owned cruise ships as well.  The ships provided government-subsidized holiday travel for German workers from 1933 to 1939, before the start of the Second World War.  The German Labor Front was in charge of the new factory in Fallersleben, and they had virtually confiscated the site for this massive factory from the family of a nobleman.  Needless to say the owners of the land did not like this, but once again they had no say in the matter.  Such was the sad fact of life in a socialist dictatorship.

The idea the National Socialist government had on how to sell these new cars was about as ridiculous as the name “Strength through Joy.”  German workers would sign up in advance and have a certain amount of money deducted from their weekly paychecks.  They would have a book of stamps which would show how much money had been deposited (saved) for their new car.  After a certain period of time (no doubt a good number of years), they would then have to travel to the factory and pick up their brand new car in person.  There were to be no distributorships or dealerships (middlemen) to sell the new peoples’ car.  If the customer did not travel to the factory to take delivery of his brand new car, the vehicle could be driven to him for a small extra surcharge.  In any event, the official purchase price of 1,000 German Marks had no relation to the reality of the free market – it was below cost and would have been a money-losing operation.  The National Socialist government certainly had grandiose plans for how large their new “KdF-City” would be, how many families would live there, how many men would work there, and how many cars they would build.  None of these plans ever came to fruition under their “leadership” for two reasons.  They were not professional business people, and the start of the Second World War in September 1939 changed things completely.

World War Two (1939-1945)

The Second World War was a disaster forGermanyand for the entire world.  It lasted for six years and cost the lives of up to 72 million people around the world.  Germany and her few “Axis” allies (such as Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Finland and Thailand) had initial “successes” for the first half of the war not because of people like Adolf Hitler, but in spite of him.  In the case ofGermany, neither the military nor the economy were prepared for such a war.  Whatever successes came on the field of battle came because of the leadership of a small professional officer corps and due to the sacrifices of a largely conscript military and patriotic civilian population.  Hitler would continually interfere with, and even persecute his own military leadership.  Ultimately his own recklessness would do in all of his grandiose plans for world conquest, and they would costGermanyand the entire world very dearly.

Der Zweite Weltkrieg (1939-1945) war weltweit katastrophal, er hat fast 72 Millionen Menschen das Leben gekostet.  Die sogenannten Erfolge die Großdeutschland mit den verbündeten Achsenmächten (Italien,Japan, die Slowakei, Ungarn, Kroatien, Rumänien, Bulgarien, Finnland undThailand) erreichte wurden nicht wegen sondern trotz Leute wie Adolf Hitler erreicht.  Die deutsche Wehrmacht hatte ein kleines Berufs-offizierkorps und-unteroffizierkorps, aber die meisten Soldaten waren Wehrpflichtige aus dem zivilen Leben.  Die deutsche Wehrmacht und die deutsche Industrie waren für den Krieg nicht vorbereitet.  Die Allierten hatten mehr Leute, Industrie, Soldaten, Panzerkampfwagen, Lastkraftwagen, Kampfflugzeuge und Kriegschiffe.  Der deutsche Volkswagen wurde auch für den Krieg umgebaut.  Etwa 55,000 “Kübelwagen” wurden zwischen 1940 und 1946 hergestellt.  Der Heckboxermotor wurde etwas vergrößert (von 984 auf 1,131 Quadratzentimeter), und die Leistung ist von 22 auf 25 PS gestiegen.

The start of war meant that Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. was now hired to alter the plan of the small peoples’ car for military purposes.  The cars which emerged for German military use were very practical and reliable (much like the Volkswagen Beetle itself), but one must keep in mind that the Germany of World War Two was nowhere near as industrialized as the Germany of today, or anywhere near as industrialized as the Western countries of that time (such as the United States, the United Kingdom or France).  This was yet another one of Adolf Hitler many colossal blunders – he took a severely outnumbered and far less modern nation to war against the most heavily industrialized countries in the world.

By far the most common military Volkswagen during World War Two was the “Kübelwagen” (literally “bucket car” in English).  Perhaps as many as 55,000 were manufactured in Wolfsburg from 1940 until 1946, because the assembly line continued to work for the occupying British forces after Germany’s surrender on May 7, 1945.  This car could seat four soldiers (compared to the usual three soldiers in the far more numerous American “Jeep”).  It had a higher ground clearance compared to the civilian Volkswagen Beetle, and lower gearing to help it drive better on rough terrain.  The top speed was also lower, and meant to be so – designed as such so that walking soldiers could keep up with the car with greater ease.  Capacity was increased to 1,131 cubic centimeters (ccm) and output was strengthened to 25 BHP (brake horsepower).

Der “Schwimmwagen” war der amphibische Kriegsvolkswagen der deutschen Wehrmacht.  Zwischen 1942 und 1944 wurden etwa 15,000 Schwimmwagen im östlichen Teil Deutschlands hergestellt.  Die Produktion des Schwimmwagens wurde schon im Jahre 1944 eingestellt, weil die Fabrik von den Sowjetrußen leider übernommen wurde.  Der Schwimmwagen war total fähig, Flüße und Seen zu überqueren.  Rußische Soldaten waren davon begeistert, daß die Deutschen ein schwimmendes Auto entwickelt hatten.  Im Jahre 1943 hatte mein Verwandter Helmut Nonnenkamp (Jahrgang 1925) die Möglichkeit (d.h. die Pflicht), als junger Wehrmachtsoldat einen Schwimmwagen vonWolfsburg-Fallersleben in Niedersachsen nachBudapestin Ungarn zu fahren.  Damals wurden alle 17-jährige deutsche Jungen in die Wehrmacht eingezogen (so war es auch bei der kaiserlichen Reichswehr im Ersten Weltkrieg im Jahre 1914 und im Deutsch-Französischen Krieg im Jahre 1870).  Im Jahre 1944 hatten die Nationalsozialisten die Wehrpflicht leider auf 16-jährige Jungen gesenkt und im Jahre 1945 auf 15-jährige Jungen festgesetzt.  13-und 14-jährige Jungvolkangehörige (die Vorstufe zur Hitlerjugend) wurden als Freiwillige im Jahre 1945 eingesetzt – so tragisch war es.  Auf einer strategisch wichtigen Brücke nahe Berlin haben 4,000 von 5,000 von diesen Kindern in April und Mai 1945 ihr Leben gelassen; ein Vergehen der politischen – nicht der militärischen – Führung des Dritten Reiches.  Die Regierungskriminalität damals ließ sich als Verfehler Einzelner bewältigen.

The second most prolific military Volkswagen during World War Two was the “Schwimmwagen” (or “swimming car” in English).  This fine vehicle was fully amphibious, and as many as 15,000 were manufactured in what is today Eastern Germany orPolandfrom 1942 to 1944.  The assembly line stopped in 1944, because the factory where these were produced was overrun by Russian troops.  It was even slower than the “Kübelwagen,” and meant to be so.  It had a somewhat shorter wheelbase, and an outboard propeller which was used to cross rivers and lakes.  The front wheels were used to steer the car while in the water, much like rudders are used for a ship or a boat.  A distant uncle of mine by the name of Helmut Nonnenkamp drove a “Schwimmwagen” from the factory in Wolfsburg (located in the modern German State of Lower Saxony in Northwestern Germany) to Budapest, which is the capital city of Hungary (then a German ally) in 1943.  At the time, Helmut was just 18 years old – rather common in the German Army as boys were drafted at the age of 17 (the draft age fell to just 16 in 1944 and 15 in 1945 – yet another crime ofGermany’s National Socialist “leadership”).

TheWolfsburgfactory also manufactured a few other variants of the peoples’ car during World War Two.  Almost 1,500 cars with a civilian “Beetle” body and the “Kübelwagen” chassis (including the very Spartan military interior) were built from 1943 until 1946.  These cars were used by the military, but behind the front lines where their lesser utility was adequate.  Almost 1,000 Beetle vans (a Beetle cab in the front for the driver and one passenger with a small enclosed cubical truck storage portion immediately behind that) were built for the British occupying forces in 1945 and 1946.  They were also used by the German Post Office.  Almost 700 four-wheel drive military Beetles named the “Kommandeurwagen” (“commander’s car” in English) were built from 1942 until 1946.  A similar number of civilian “KdF-Wagen” Beetles were built as well, but most of these cars were never seen by the general public – they were given to high ranking members of the National Socialist Party.

One of the few positive things one can say about the German Labor Front is that none of the savers’ money (from the 700,000 Germans who signed up to purchase a Volkswagen from 1938 to 1945) was embezzled.  The 280 million Marks was intact in 1945, but was confiscated by the Western Allies as part of war reparations – none of the money went to the new Volkswagen company inGermany.  The average German saver had paid in 400 Marks toward the purchase of a new car, and after the war, the new company of Volkswagen, A.G. (which had nothing to do with the pre-war National Socialist Labor Front) actually gave these 700,000 people up to 600 Marks each toward the purchase of a brand new Volkswagen.  It was not their financial liability, but they did it anyhow as part of good customer relations.

GermanyandCentral Europewere in shambles in May 1945.  7 million Germans died in World War Two (about 4 million military dead and 3 million civilian dead).  Of the civilians, roughly 640,000 had been killed in Allied air raids over civilian targets – performed by the air forces of theUnited Statesand theUnited Kingdom.  Every second structure inGermanywas destroyed, but in the large cities such asBerlin,Hamburg,Munich,ViennaandCologneit was far worse with flattened landscapes as far as the eye could see.  885 railway bridges inGermanyhad been destroyed.  The “Autobahn” system of super highways was so heavily damaged that it was virtually useless for inter-city travel.  Sunken vessels blocked the harbors of German port cities such asHamburg,Bremen, Lübeck,RostockandEmden.  The cities with the greatest number of civilian air-raid dead included the likes of Dresden, Breslau, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Wesel, Pforzheim, Darmstadt, Kassel, Heilbronn, Nuremberg, Wuppertal, Frankfurt on the River Main, Brunswick and Hildesheim.

On top of this, much ancestral German territory was confiscated and millions of ethnic Germans were forced to flee to the West – with nothing but what they could carry in cars, trucks, horse-drawn wagons and bicycles.  Entire ethnic German provinces such asPomerania,Silesia,Prussiaand theSudetenlandwere emptied of their ancestral inhabitants.  In the process, more than two million German civilians lost their lives.  Perhaps 15 million people fled with their lives.  Most (but not all) migrated to Western Germany and Austria, with others going to countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia,  New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay and Chile.

Nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges wurde viel urdeutsches Land von den Alliierten  übernommen (besonders im Osten wie Schlesien, Pommern, Preußen und das Sudetenland), 15 Millionen Deutsche wurden aus ihrer Heimat, dem urdeutschen Land, vertrieben (hauptsächlich von den Ostgebieten in die westdeutsche Bundesrepublik) und 2 Millionen deutsche Zivilisten haben dabei ihr Leben gelaßen.  Viele Deutsche sind nach Amerika (Nord und Süd), Australien, Neuseeland und Südafrika ausgewandert.  Die Kommunisten in der Sowjetunion und deren Satellitenstaaten hofften, daß so viele ärmliche Flüchtliche die zerstörte westdeutsche Wirtschaft weiterhin auf dem Nullpunkt oder darunter hält – aber es geschah das Gegenteil.  Viele dieser Flüchtlinge haben durch ihre Berufserfahrung und Fleiß in hohem Maße dazu beigetragen die westdeutsche Wirtschaft nach dem Jahre 1945 wieder in Schwung zu bringen – das Wirtschaftswunder.    Im Jahre 1952 war die Wirtschaft der westlichen Bundesrepublik schon so groß wie die ganze ehemalige großdeutsche Wirtschaft von 1939 (das Deutsche Reich, Österreich, das Sudetenland, Böhmen, Mähren, die Slowakei und das Memelland).  Nur die Bundesrepublik Deutschland und Finnland haben die Amerikaner für deren nachkriegs Marshallplanhilfe zurückbezahlt – die anderen Länder der Welt haben das einfach nie geschafft.

At the time, the Communist government of the Soviet Union hoped that all these refugees would cause social unrest inWestern Germany(which absorbed at least 12 million of the ethnic Germans from the Eastern territories).  In fact, the opposite thing happened.  They were hard working immigrants, and the native population inWestern Germanyworked very hard as well.  The result was a civilian free-market economy that boomed.  By 1952, Western Germany alone matched the 1939 pre-war economic activity of allGermany,AustriaandCzechoslovakiacombined.  The postwar German economy was (and continues to be) so successful thatGermanywas one of merely two countries in the entire world (the other isFinland) which totally repaid their Marshall Plan debt to theUnited States of America.

Wolfsburg Motor Works, Limited

In May 1945, much of Northern Germany (the modern States of Schleswig-Holstein,Hamburg,Lower Saxonyand North Rhine-Westphalia) found itself under British military occupation.  The Army of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery had advanced through theNetherlandsand Northern Germany after the failure of “Operation Market Garden” in September 1944, when they had not succeeded in taking the Dutch city ofArnhem.  This failure meant that the war inEuropewould not end until May of 1945.

Im Mai 1945 gehörten Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Niedersachsen und Nordrhein-Westfalen zur britischen Besatzungszone.  Das britische Heer unter Generalfeldmarschall Bernard Montgomery ist durch Norddeutschland marschiert, nur nachdem es eine verheerende Niederlage in Arnheim (in den Niederlanden) im September 1944 erlitten hatte.  Zwei erschöpfte deutsche Panzerdivisionen der eliten Waffen-SS haben das errungen.  Das große Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben war mindestens 60 Prozent zerstört.  Das Werk hat nicht nur KdF-Wagen, Kübelwagen und Kommandeurwagen gebaut, sondern produzierte auch die V-1 (die sogenannte “Vergeltungswaffe Eins”), die Fieseler Fi-103, eine unbemannte Flugrakete, die hauptsächlich gegen Großbrittanien, die Niederlande und Belgien in 1944 und 1945 eingesetzt wurde.  Für Deutschland und das Volkswagenwerk war es nur von Vorteil, daß der englische Major Ivan Hirst (1916-2000) das Werk zwischen 1945 und 1948 leitete.  Der Major hatte nichts gegen das deutsche Volk und die Deutschen haben mit den Engländern zusammengearbeitet.  Zwischen Mai und Dezember 1945 wurden 1,785 Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen hergestellt, und in den Jahren 1946 und 1947 kamen beziehungsweise 10,020 und 8,987 mehr Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen dazu.  Diese nachkriegs Volkswagen waren den KdF-Wagen Limousinen von 1938 und 1939 sehr ähnlich.  Viele davon wurden für den nachkriegs Tauschhandel benutzt, um Nahrungsmittel für die Volkswagenmitarbeiter und deren Familienmitglieder zu erwerben.

The great factory near thevillageofFallerslebeninLower Saxonywas heavily damaged.  It had been used to build the Kübelwagen military Volkswagen, as well as armaments forGermany’s wartime economy.  One these was the Fieseler Fi-103 (or “V1”) flying bomb – an unmanned jet plane filled with explosives and sent into Allied countries such asEngland.  850,000 square feet of the Volkswagen factory (or 60 percent of its surface area) was leveled in Allied air raids during the closing days of the Second World War.

One very good thing after May 1945 was the fortune the people ofWolfsburghad in the man the British Army chose to run the Volkswagen factory.  British Major Ivan Hirst (1916-2000) worked with the people ofWolfsburgright from the start – to build cars in the rubble of the factory.  This was done to supply the British Army with transportation (there was a severe shortage thereof), to keep people working, and to barter for food and payment (finished Volkswagen Beetle Sedans were used as barter).  The cars built after the end of the war were very Spartan (simple), and they were virtually identical to the KdF-Wagen sedans built from 1938 until 1945.  In the final seven months of 1945, the new British military management (under the name “Wolfsburg Motor Works, Limited”) manufactured 1,785 Volkswagen sedans.  Another 10,020 cars were built in 1946 and yet another 8,987 cars were made in 1947.

The British military did not want to keep the Volkswagen factory, so over this time it was offered for sale to numerous automotive companies – all of which turned the offer down.  They unanimously believed that the Volkswagen was an “inferior” product.  American companies which turned down the offer to purchase the Volkswagen factory included both the Ford Motor Company ofDearborn,Michiganand Studebaker Corporation ofSouth Bend,Indiana.  FromFrancethere was RenaultS.A.  British companies which turned down the chance to buy the Volkswagen factory included the likes of Humber, part of the now-defunct Rootes Group of theUnited Kingdom(Rootes included brands such as Hillman,Humber, Singer, Sunbeam, Talbot, Commer and Karrier).  Rootes was eventually purchased by Chrysler Corporation of theUSA, which is now bankrupt.  The ironic thing is that all of these companies from so many countries labeled the Volkswagen car and the Volkswagen factory as a complete loser between 1945 and 1948.  They said the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan was too small, too noisy, too flimsy and so forth.  Ultimately, this humble little car would help lead to the economic recovery of the German nation, and to leadGermanyto even great economic prowess than she had ever dreamt of knowing before 1933.  The executives of Humber from theUnited Kingdomsaid that Volkswagen showed “no promise” for the future.  Those from the Ford Motor Company in theUSAsaid that Volkswagen was “not worth a damn.”  History would prove every single one of them one hundred percent wrong.  In the long run, it would be their own car companies (and not Volkswagen) which would fail.  But it was only in 1948 that the critical change came to Volkswagen; a change which would secure its future not merely as a technical success, but as a business success.  The man who began this amazing success was a professional German business leader by the name of Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff (1899-1968).

Das britische Militär wollte das deutsche Volkswagenwerk eigentlich nicht übernehmen und die anderen Autoherstellter der Welt hielten nicht viel von der Volkswagen Käfer Limousine von Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.  Zum Beispeil haben Ford und Studebaker aus Amerika, Renault aus Frankreich und Humber aus Großbrittanien die gute Möglichkeit einfach nicht benutzt, das Volkswagenwerk günstig zu erwerben.  Sie glaubten, daß der Volkswagen keine gute Zukunft haben würde.  Die Leute bei Ford sagten, daß der Volkswagen “gar kein Wert” habe.  Heute klingt es ein bischen komisch, weil Firmen wieHumbernicht mehr existieren.  Prof.  Dr. Ferdinand Porsche starb im Jahre 1951, und sein Schwiegersohn Anton Piëch starb im Jahre 1952.  Sein Sohn Ferdinand “Ferry” Anton Ernst Piëch (1909-1998) hat den Sportwagenhersteller Porsche, A.G. aufgebaut.  Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wurden diese drei Volkswagen-Porsche Gründer von den Franzosen verhaftet, obwohl sie in Wirklichkeit keine Kriegsverbrecher waren.

Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff (1899-1968)

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951) died a mere six years after the end of World War Two.  From 1945 until 1947, the French government imprisoned Dr. Porsche, his son Ferdinand “Ferry” Anton Ernst Porsche (1909-1998) and his son-in-law Anton Piëch (1894-1952) under the totally false charge that they were German “war criminals.”  Due to the conditions in the French prison, the elder Dr. Porsche’s health deteriorated and he died by 1951.  He and his descendants founded the great Porsche, A.G. sports car manufacturer inStuttgart,Germanyin 1947.

In 1948, British Major Ivan Hirst was looking for a qualified and willing German business manager to take over the management of theWolfsburgfactory from the British Army.  In every case, the British were not able to find such an individual until they came upon Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff (1899-1968).  Dr. Nordhoff was born in the city ofHildesheiminLower Saxonyon January 6, 1899.  He was the second of three brothers, and his father was a small-town commercial banker.  During World War One (1914-1918) Nordhoff served as an enlisted man in the Imperial German Army, where he was wounded in action in his knee.  After World War One, he graduated with a university degree from thePolytechnicAcademyinBerlin, and went on to work on aircraft engines for BMW in 1927.  Very soon thereafter in 1929, he joined Adam Opel G.m.h.H., the German subsidiary of General Motors Corporation of theUSA.  Nordhoff wanted to work for Opel, because they were owned by what was at that time a great American auto company – General Motors.  He wrote technical manuals for Opel, and in 1930 he was promoted to become the Head of Opel’s Service Department.  He was eventually promoted to Opel’s Board of Directors inGermany.  In 1940, he became the manager of Opel’s truck factory inBrandenburg(not too far fromBerlin), which was then the largest truck factory in all ofEurope.  During World War Two, this factory produced up to 4,000 heavy trucks per month for the German Army.

Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff (1899-1968), der das Volkswagenwerk von 1948 bis 1968 leitete, war der eigentliche Segen für Volkswagen.  Die tatsächliche Geschichte der Volkswagen, A.G. began ab 1948 als das Werk eine Privatfirma wurde.  Der britische Major Ivan Hirst war auf der Suche nach einem qualifizierten deutschen Geschäftsmanager, und er fand Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff.  Dr. Nordhoff wurde am 6. Januar 1899 inHildesheimin Niedersachsen geboren.  Er war der zweite von drei Brüdern, deren Vater ein Bankier war.  Zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkrieges diente Heinz Nordhoff bei der kaiserlich deutschen Armee, wo er verwundet wurde.  Nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg studierte Heinz Nordhoff inBerlin.  Bis 1927 arbeitete er mit Flugzeugmotoren bei BMW, und im Jahre 1929 ist er in die Adam Opel G.m.b.H. eingetreten, wo er technische Handbücher schrieb.  Ab 1930 leitete Dr. Heinz Nordhoff die Pflegedienstabteilung von Adam Opel, und wurde kurz danach zum Vorstand der Gesellschaft befördert.  Zur Zeit des Zweiten Weltkrieges leitete Dr. Nordhoff die Opel Lastkraftwagenfabrik inBrandenburg– zu der Zeit die größte Lastwagenfabrik in Europa.  Monatlich hat diese große Fabrik 4,000 Lastkraftwagen für das Wehrmacht-Heer hergestellt.  General Motors Corporation inDetroit,Michigan,USA(die Mutterfirma von Adam Opel, G.m.b.H.) wollte deswegen nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg nichts mit Dr. Nordhoff zu tun haben.  Aber die Engländer, vor allem Major Ivan Hirst, waren anderer Meinung, was sich dann auch sehr vorteilhaft ausspielte.  Nach dem Ende des Krieges im Mai 1945 arbeitete Dr. Nordhoff als Mechaniker in Hamburg, weil er wie so viele andere Deutsche einfach Arbeit haben mußte damit er und seine Familie überleben konnten.  Im Jahre 1948 war Dr. Nordhoff der Meinung, daß der Volkswagen Käfer ein “ärmliches, kleines Ding” sei.  Dr. Heinz Nordhoff war jedoch verständlicherweise dankbar als Vorsitzender in das Volkswagenwerk einzutreten.  Dr. Nordhoff war äußerst strebsam und arbeitete oft sieben Tage in der Woche und übernachtete vielmals in seinem Büro, wo er die Ratten in der zerstörten Volkswagenfabrik hören konnte.

After the end of the Second World War, Heinz Nordhoff tried to re-apply for a job with Opel, but was turned down.  This was the sad case with many German managers, who were no longer welcome at the American-owned company.  Nordhoff moved his wife and family fromBrandenburg(in the Soviet zone of occupation) toHamburg(in the British zone of occupation), where he worked as an automobile mechanic just to make ends meet.  Although the Americans wanted nothing to do with Heinz Nordhoff, the British welcomed him toWolfsburg– and they could not have made a better decision.  At the time, even Dr. Heinz Nordhoff did not have a very positive opinion of Volkswagen, but as he needed a real job, he took this job with same gusto he gave to every job he ever had in his life.  He thought the Volkswagen Beetle was a “poor little thing,” and the changes he brought to the company were to make it an amazing success not merely inGermanybut around the entire world.

For starters, Dr. Nordhoff wanted to cut every single tie with the lost past.  As a government run enterprise, the Volkswagen factory up to 1945 represented unfair competition to private industry, which had to bring a product to the market for a fair price (not below cost).  When he first started working for Volkswagen in 1948, Dr. Nordhoff often slept overnight in his office and heard rats moving along the floors of the still bombed-out buildings.  One good thing was that the large factory’s power-plant had escaped damage during the Allied air raids.  Once Dr. Nordhoff realized that the post-World War Two Volkswagen enterprise would no longer be receiving unfair public sector (government or more accurately: taxpayer) help, he felt much better about it.

Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff wollte die Verbindungen mit Volkswagens negativer Vergangenheit beenden.  Dr. Nordhoff hatte keine Intereße an Staatshilfe, er wollte das Werk als private und deutsche Firma aufbauen.  Die englischen Schilder “Wolfsburg Motor Works, Limited” wurden abgesetzt und mit deutschen “Volkswagenwerk, A.G.” Schildern ersetzt.  Die Stadt Wolfsburg-Fallersleben wurde während des Krieges schwer beschädigt, und deswegen war Volkswagens erste große Kapitalanlage für 4,000 neue Wohnungen für Mitarbeiter des Werkes und deren Familien.  VW Ingenieure beschäftigten sich umgehend mit der Verbesserung des Käfers.  Der Heckmotor lief leiser, die Langlebigkeit der Bestandteile wurde wesentlich verlängert, die Pferdestärke wurde von 25 auf 30 gehoben und die Bremsen wurden verstärkt.  Der weltbekannte zuverläßige und viel bewunderte Volkswagen Käfer ist tatsächlich ein besseres Fahrzeug geworden unter der Leitung von Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff.

In 1948, the British military signs displaying the English words “Wolfsburg Motor Works” came down, and new German signs displaying the equivalent “Volkswagenwerk” came up.  The unfinished city ofWolfsburg-Fallerslebenhad been heavily damaged by Allied air raids during World War Two, and one of first projects initiated by Dr. Nordhoff (paid for from the profits of sales of brand new Volkswagen passenger cars) was the construction of 4,000 housing units for Volkswagen factory workers and their families.

Engineers immediately began work on improving the sound design of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.  The Volkswagen “Beetle” passenger car was thus made into an even better car.  Engine and fan noise were decreased, the longevity of component parts was substantially if not phenomenally extended, brake horsepower was increased from 25 to 30, and ride and braking force were improved.  The entire automobile began to bear both large and small changes reflecting Dr. Heinz Nordhoff’s fruitful prewar and wartime experience with Adam Opel, G.m.b.H.

One of the most important tasks for Dr. Nordhoff’s new management in 1948 was the modernization of the factory’s stock of machinery.  Much of the existing machinery had been made before World War Two, and had been destroyed or looted during the war.  Brand new machinery had to be purchased abroad (largely from theUnited States of America) with hard cash – profits from the sale of Volkswagen passenger cars inGermanyand especially in the all-important export markets.  Exports of Volkswagen passenger cars had commenced in 1947 (under the British military management of Major Ivan Hirst), when the Dutchman Ben Pon was hired to import 56 Volkswagen sedans into his nativeNetherlands.  In 1948, Dr. Heinz Nordhoff expanded exports into bothDenmarkandSweden.

Im Jahre 1948 hat das Volkswagenwerk unter Leitung von Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff neue Maschinerie für die Fabrik erworben.  Zur Zeit des Zweiten Weltkrieges wurde ein großer Teil des Werkes und dessen Einrichtung zerstört und gleich nach dem Krieg ging viel von der noch übrigbleibenden Einrichtung verloren, oft durch Diebstahl.  Nach dem Krieg wurde neue Maschinerie hauptsächlich aus den Vereinigten Staaten bezogen.  Im Jahre 1947 haben die damaligen amerikanischen Autohersteller (wie General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, American Motors, Studebaker, Packard, Kaiser-Frazer, Willys-Overland und Crosley) völlig 92 Prozent des globalen Automarktes beherrscht.  Seit 1947 hat der niederländische Exportkaufmann Ben Pon Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen nachHollandimportiert.  Die 56 Käfer, die inHollandim Jahre 1947 verkauft wurden, waren die ersten “offiziellen” Volkswagenexportmodelle.  In 1945 und 1946 haben einige amerikanische und britische Soldaten VW Käfer Limousinen einfach privat gekauft und nach Hause verschifft.  Dr. Nordhoff glaubte, daß kein Autohersteller besser als der Volkswagenpflegedienst sein sollte.  Von Anfang an hat Volkswagen viele neue Zweigstellen in Deutschland und auch im Ausland eröffnet.  Alle VW-Händler mußten genug neue Ersatzteile haben, um einen neuen Volkswagen selbst zu montieren.  Wenn das nicht der Fall war, bestand immer die Möglichkeit, daß der Händler sein Volkswagengeschäft leider verlieren konnte.  Der Pflegedienst und die Kundenbetreuung von Volkswagen war so gut, daß der Volkswagen bald auch im ehemaligen “Feindesländern” von Deutschland beliebt wurde.  Deswegen war die Volkswagen Käfer Limousine eine der besten nachkriegs “Botschafter” der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.  Bald sahen viele Leute rund um den Erdball, daß etwas sehr gutes und brauchbares aus Deutschland kam.

A confirmed belief dating from Dr. Nordhoff’s employment with Adam Opel was that “a car is no better than its available service facilities.”  Before sales commenced in new geographic markets in bothGermanyand the all-important export markets, he insisted that a very extensive supply of spare parts were available in brand new distributor and dealership networks.  This policy of “pre-service” was unprecedented in the history of the automotive industry, and no official sales promotion could or would have done more or better to make the Volkswagen such a popular product.  Even in the many countries where people retained animosity towards any German product (due to the bad feelings left behind from two terrible world wars), motorists (customers) recognized that the Volkswagen was the only car available with a first class sales and service organization comparable to those of the largest American automobile companies.  One should bear in mind that in 1947, fully 92 percent of the global motor vehicle market was held by American-owned companies such as General Motors, Ford Motor, Chrysler, Studebaker, Packard, Nash-Kelvinator, Hudson, Willys-Overland, Kaiser-Frazer and Crosley.

The Volkswagen was thus enormously successful as a “German ambassador” of goodwill.  Many Europeans (and people the world over) soon lowered their barriers of anti-German feeling through their need for and through their enjoyment of the small Volkswagen Beetle passenger car.

Export sales soared and succeeded beyond all expectations, thus making the Volkswagen an international success.  Whereas Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (and certainly the National Socialist German Labor Front under Adolf Hitler and Robert Ley) were thinking mainly of the domestic German market, Dr. Heinz Nordhoff turned Volkswagen into a resounding success not merely inGermanybut around the entire globe.  Total new Volkswagen sales increased from 8,987 cars in 1947 to a record 19,244 cars in 1948 and 46,146 cars in 1949.  By 1949, Volkswagen represented something like 45% of the entire industrial output of all ofWestern Germany.  1949 also marked the introduction of the Deluxe Export Beetle Sedan (a car with chrome trim and a more attractive cloth interior), the first exports to the United States (the Dutchman Ben Pon brought two Volkswagen Beetle Sedans to the port of New York), the first series-production Volkswagen Beetle Convertible (made by the German coachbuilder of Karmann in the city of Osnabrück) and the first all-new model (the Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter, or Microbus).  The Type 1 referred to the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan and Beetle Convertible.

Der Volkswagen Käfer war ein großer Erfolg nicht nur in Deutschland, aber besonders auch im Ausland.  Von 1947 bis 1948 sind die Verkäufe des Volkswagen von 8,987 auf 19,244 Einheiten gestiegen, um im Jahre 1949 wurden es schon 46,146.  In 1949 hat das Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg schon 45% der wirtschaftlichen Produktion der Bundesrepublik Deutschland gebildet.  Ab 1949 hat Volkswagen die “Export Limousine” geliefert.  Der Export Käfer hatte Chromschmuck, sah besser aus und war auch bequemer.  Das serienmäßige Käfer Kabriolett wurde ab 1949 bei Karmann in Osnabrück hergestellt, und das erste richtige nachkriegs Modell, der Volkswagen Transporter (der sogenannte “Bulli” oder auch “Kleinbus” genannt) wurde auch im Jahre 1949 eingeführt.  In 1949 gab es schon 10,000 Mitarbeiter bei Volkswagen, und 20 Prozent des Unternehmens gehörte wie noch heute dem Bundesland Niedersachsen.  Heute gehört 51% der Volkswagen, A.G. der Porsche, A.G., 20% dem Bundesland Niedersachsen, 17% Katar am Persischen Golf und 4% der Schweizerischen Vereinsbank.  Volkswagen, A.G. in Wolfsburg besitzt selbst 49% der Porsche, A.G. in Stuttgart, und dazu besitzen die Familien Porsche 32% und Porsche-Piëch 19% der Porsche, A.G.  Die Deutsche Arbeitsfront träumte nur vom Erfolg des Volkswagenwerkes, aber Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff und das neue, private Volkswagenwerk hat es ab 1949 zur Wirklichkeit gemacht.  Im Jahre 1965 (20 Jahren nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges) gab es etwa 92,000 Angestellte weltweit, und Volkswagen produzierte jeden Arbeitstag 6,700 neue Fahrzeuge.  Das war schon fast 150 Prozent mehr als das damalige Ziel der Deutschen Arbeitsfront des Dritten Reiches.

When the British military management under Major Ivan Hirst turned the vast Volkswagen factory over to the Germans in 1949, Dr. Nordhoff already had a staff of 10,000 employees.  One of the major shareholders in Volkswagen was (as they still are today) the German State ofLower Saxony.  This state (known as “Niedersachsen” in German) owns 20% of Volkswagen.  30% of Volkswagen stock is now held by Porsche, 20% by Qatar, 4% by the Union Bank of Switzerland, 2% by VW employees (through their labor union) and one percent by Suzuki.  This would leave no more than 23% for all other shareholders combined.

The National Socialist German Labor Front under Adolf Hitler and Robert Ley had once dreamt of mass producing cars and selling them all overGermany.  But it took the free market and private enterprise to make this happen, and not just withinGermanyitself but the world over.  Professional business managers thus succeeded where a dictator and his socialist crony politicians failed.  The “KdF” (or “Strength through Joy”) organization of the Nazi Labor Front had plans for 30,000 employees to manufacture 2,700 cars per day.  But talk is cheap (especially from politicians), and this was never accomplished during their reign – far from it.  By 1965 (twenty years after the end of the Second World War), Dr. Heinz Nordhoff was leading 92,000 employees who built an amazing 6,700 new vehicles every single day.  This was much better than any government program could ever do, and it was all being done by free individuals operating within a free market!

Im Jahre 1950 war die Leitung von Dr. Nordhoff so erfolgreich, daß die Volkswagenverkäufe schon viermal so groß waren wie im Jahre 1949.  Die Gesamtvolkswagenlieferungen erreichten 89,895 Fahrzeuge, wovon 8,059 VW-Transporter waren.  Im Jahre 1949 waren die acht neuen VW-Transporter alle Kastenwagen (der “Bulli”), aber im Jahre 1950 kam der beliebte und erfolgreiche Kombi, oder “Kleinbus.”  Im Jahre 1951 verkaufte Volkswagen weltweit 98,709 neue Fahrzeuge, wovon 12,003 VW-Transporter waren.  Das Werk hat immer mehr neue Maschinerie erworben, und die Fahrzeuge wurden immer verbessert.  Die neuen Motore wurden stärker, langlebiger und praktischer.  Die Fahrzeuge waren leichter zu fahren, bequemer, sicherer und auch ökonomischer.  Und die Mehrheit der Volkswagen Eigentümer haben wieder neue Volkswagen Fahrzeuge gekauft als sie ihre Gebrauchtwagen verkauft haben.  Im Jahre 1952 gab es Volkswagenhändler in 83 Länder – im Jahre 1965 waren es schon 130 Länder.  Im Jahre 1952 verkaufte Volkswagen weltweit 114,348 neue Wagen, wovon 21,665 VW-Transporter waren.  1952 war auch das letzte Jahr der “Brezelfenster” Volkswagen Käfer Limousine.

By 1950, Nordhoff’s export program had been so successful that it had increased four-fold over 1949.  Total Volkswagen production and sales increased to 89,895 new vehicles in 1950.  Production of the Type 2 Volkswagen Microbus increased from 8 vehicles in 1949 to 8,059 units in 1950.  The first model in 1949 had been the Panel Van, whereas in 1950 it was joined by the more prolific “Kombi” passenger bus.  “Kombi” was short for the German word for “combination.”  The bus could be used to move passengers, or with the center and rear seats removed it could be used as a van to haul cargo.  One success lead to even more successes down the road – Nordhoff was able to purchase new factory machinery with the hard currency earned from the sale of new Volkswagen vehicles.  The new machinery allowed him to expand production, and to build more Volkswagens to increase his sales yet again.  Sales increased to 98,709 new vehicles in 1951, including 12,003 Type 2 Volkswagen Transporters.  And instead of wasting money on new cosmetic styling every single year, Volkswagen engineers worked to make the actual car a better car year after year.  It became more powerful, longer lasting, more practical, easier to drive, more comfortable, safer, more economical and more valuable for its to sell as a used vehicle.  And more often than not, the customer would trade in his or her used Volkswagen on a brand new Volkswagen.

Volkswagen distributorships and dealerships had expanded to 83 countries around the world by 1952 (and to 130 countries by 1965), far surpassing any dream ever held in pre-World War Two Germany.  New unit sales increased to 114,348 vehicles in 1952, 21,665 of which were Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter Panel Vans and Kombi Microbuses.  1952 also marked the final year for the oval rear “split window” in the back of the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan.  In 1953, it would be replaced by a one-piece oval rear window.

Dr. Nordhoff also introduced a strict cost accounting system to Volkswagen.  In the beginning, nobody knew how much it actually cost to build a single car.  Dr. Nordhoff installed one strict cost accounting system on the stream of raw materials flowing into one end of the vast Volkswagen factory, another one on the man-hours expended inside the factory, and a third cost accounting system on the finished product being shipped out at the end of the Volkswagen factory.  He discovered that it was taking 400 man-hours to manufacture one single car, and asked his people to reduce this figure by 75 percent – to a mere 100 man-hours.  Critical study and improvement of production methods reduced the number of workers (people) required to manufacture 1,000 vehicles from 744 to just 100 as early as 1953 (an impressive reduction of 87 percent).  In 1953, new unit sales increased to 151,323 vehicles, 28,417 of which were Type 2 Volkswagen Panel Vans and Microbuses.

Als beruflicher Geschäftsmanager hat Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff das Volkswagenwerk  leistungsfähiger und erfolgreich geführt.  Im Jahre 1948 erfordete es 400 Arbeiterstunden, um ein Volkswagen Käfer herzustellen – im Jahre 1953 waren es nur noch 100 Arbeiterstunden.  Im Jahre 1948 benötigte es 744 Mitarbeiter, um 1,000 Käfer Limousinen herzustellen – im Jahre 1953 waren es nur noch 100 Leute.  Im Jahre 1953 verkaufte Volkswagen weltweit 151,323 Fahrzeuge, wovon 28,417 VW-Transporter waren.  Das Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben ist die größte Autofabrik der Welt.  Im Jahre 1959 sagte Dr. Nordhoff, daß der Erfolg des Volkswagenwerkes kein “Wunder” sei, sondern die Folge harter und guter Arbeit, und das Wissen, wie man etwas richtig mache.

The Factory

The Volkswagen factory inWolfsburg,Germanyrepresents an incredible amount of production efficiency.  It is the largest single factory building under one roof in the entire world.  Trucks and trains loaded with materials enter at one end of the (one-mile long) building, while finished Volkswagen cars leave at the opposite end of the building.   A large number of material-handling vehicles operate throughout the huge complex, and their operators need not leave the building during the work day.  The production machinery is arranged with absolute precision in neat and efficient rows.  Mills, cutters, presses and boring machines are almost exclusively automatic, making for the absolute best efficiency in mass production.  Conveyor belt automation routes the correct number of automotive component parts to their proper location at the exact moment of their need in the production process.  In 1959, Dr. Heinz Nordoff commented that “It annoys me greatly when people speak of the miracle of the Volkswagen factory.  It doesn’t have anything to do with miracles – only with work, consideration, and the knowledge how to go about doing something.”  I couldn’t agree more, and believe that we basically have two kinds of people in the world: those of us who work very hard, and those who hardly work at all!

Volkswagen manufacturing and assembly facilities would eventually sprout all around the world, including in such locations as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.  A brand new plant is now being constructed in the American state ofTennessee.  Some of the plants simply assemble German-manufactured CKD (completely knocked down) kits, whereas others combine German-made parts with locally-produced component parts.  The window stickers on all new Volkswagen vehicles will show the major sources of component parts used to make that particular car or truck.

Eventuell wird man Volkswagenfabriken rund um den Erdball finden – nicht nur in Deutschland aber auch in Argentinien, Australien, Belgien, Brasilien, China, Tschechien, Frankreich, Ungarn, Irland, Italien, Mexiko, Neuseeland, Nigerien, Peru, die Philippinen, Polen, Portugal, Rußland, Serbien, Slowakei, Südafrika, Spanien, Türkei, Großbrittanien, Uruguay und Venezuela.  Die größte Volkswagenfabrik liegt immer noch in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben in Niedersachsen.  Es gibt auch andere Werke in Deutschland wie in Hannover (hauptsächlich für VW-Transporter), inKassel(für Motore und Getriebe), in Braunschweig, inEmden(ursprünglich als Exportfabrik hauptsächlich für Nordamerika gegründet) sowie inIngolstadtin Bayern (die Audi Fabrik).  Für viele Jahre nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges waren die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika der wichtigste Exportmarkt für Volkswagen.  Im Jahre 1949 hat der niederländische Exportkaufmann Ben Pon zwei Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen nach Neu York gebracht.  Am Anfang war der Volkswagen Käfer in Amerika nicht beliebt, weil er für damalige amerikanische verhältniße zu klein und langsam war, und war mit einem lautem Heckmotor ausgestattet.  Und außerdem war es ein Wagen aus Deutschland,einLanddas viele Amerikaner damals und auch heute noch mit Argwohn betrachten.

The original German Volkswagen factory is of course located inWolfsburginLower Saxony.  Most Volkswagen Transporters (light trucks) are made in the factory inHanover(spelled “Hannover” in German), also in the Northern State of Lower Saxony (the city ofHanoveris in fact the capital ofLower Saxony).  In 1958, another new plant was opened in the city ofKasselfor the reconditioning of engines, transmissions, and other Volkswagen component parts.  In 1959, yet another plant was opened in the Northern German city ofBrunswick(“Braunschweig” in German) to manufacture suspension parts.  The plant inEmden(onGermany’sNorth SeaCoast) was originally opened as a plant to make cars specifically for large export markets.  The Audi plant inIngolstadt(inBavariainSouthern Germany) became the sixth Volkswagen plant on German soil.

In 2010, it is expected that the Volkswagen factory inShanghai,Chinawill finally surpass the Volkswagen plant inWolfsburgto become the largest automotive factory under one roof in the entire world.  Annual production in each building was about one million vehicles per year in 2009.

Volkswagen in the United States of America

After World War Two, a number ofU.S.servicemen returning home toAmericafromGermanybrought Volkswagen Beetles with them.  Every now and then, one comes across a very rare pre-1949 (officially exported) Volkswagen in theUnited States.  Official exports to theUSAbegan in 1949, when the Dutchman Ben Pon landed in theportofNew York Citywith two Volkswagen Beetle Sedans.  The cars were not greeted with enthusiasm, and for a number of reasons.  Four years after World War Two,Americawas still rampant with anti-German sentiment.  And even more than that, the small economical Volkswagen was something of an “anti-car” compared to the large behemoths coming from the likes of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Studebaker, Packard, Nash, Hudson, Willys, Kaiser, and Frazer.  It was small (as opposed to being large), it had a small engine in the rear (versus having a horsepower monster in the front) and it was air-cooled (instead of being water-cooled).  In fact, poor Ben Pon had to sell one of the cars inNew Yorkjust to pay his fare back toHolland.

Im Jahre 1949 war der Volkswagen Käfer in Amerika so unbeliebt, daß der holländische Exportkaufmann Ben Pon einen von den zwei Wagen verkaufte, damit er wieder nach Europa zurückreisen konnte.  Im Jahre 1947 beherrschten die amerikanischen Autohersteller völlig 92 Prozent des Weltmarkts.  Die Engländer hatten drei Prozent des Markts, die Rußen und die Franzosen je zwei Prozent, und die Italiener etwa ein Prozent des Weltfahrzeugmarkts.  Die anderen Autohersteller ausDeutschland,Japanund Schweden waren so klein, daß sie zusammen weniger als ein Prozent des Markts beherrschten.  Die größten Importmarken in Nordamerika warenAustin, Morris und MG (alle ausEngland).  Im Jahre 1950 wurde der amerikanische Importeur Max Hoffman der offizielle Volkswagenimporteur für die Vereinigten Staaten.  Zu der Zeit hat Herr Hoffman die Automarke Jaguar verkauft, die auch ausEnglandkommt.  In 1950 hat Herr Hoffman 328 Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen und Kabrioletts hauptsächlich in Neu York verkauft.  Es gab auch keine offizielle Werbungen – die einzige Werbung, die Volkswagen in Amerika hatte, waren die zufriedenen Volkswagen Kunden.  Volkswagenverkaufe in Amerika wuchsen auf 367 Wagen in 1951, 887 in 1952, 1,139 in 1953 und 8,086 neue Wagen in 1954.  Die Jaguar Händler von Max Hoffman sahen, daß der preisgünstige und zuverläßige Volkswagen Käfer wesentlich beliebter war als der teuere und oft unzuverläßige englische Jaguar.  Viele Wagenhändler sagten damals, daß sie keine neuen Jaguars brauchten, sondern noch mehr Volkswagen wollten!

After World War Two,Germanywas hardly an economic and automobile powerhouse (to put it mildly).  In 1947, American car companies held 92% of the global market (and even more than that in their domestic market of theUnited States).  British car companies held 3% of the world market, with 2% each being held by car companies fromRussiaandFrance, respectively.  Italian car companies held about one percent of the world market, with companies fromGermany,JapanandSwedenbarely on the radar screen.  In other words, even most imported cars in the United States in 1949 came from countries such as the United Kingdom (England), France and Italy.  The largest imports inAmericain 1949 were Austin, Morris and MG (all fromEngland).  In 1950, theNew York Cityimporter Max Hoffman won the rights to import Volkswagen into theUnited States.  He began by selling Volkswagen cars through his Jaguar dealerships – yet another British brand.  Volkswagen Beetle sales increased in theUSAto 328 cars from just two cars in 1949.  There was no “official” advertising from Volkswagen at this time.  The only advertising was from individual dealerships (one very different from the other), and by word of mouth.  In other words, satisfied customers promoted the product in what they told their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers about the car.  Volkswagen Beetle sales in theUSAincreased to 367 new cars in 1951, to 887 cars in 1952, to 1,139 units in 1953 and to 8,086 cars in 1954.  The Jaguar dealerships soon realized that the Volkswagen Beetles were selling more frequently than the Jaguars.  They then told Mr. Hoffman that they didn’t really need any more new Jaguars, but that they would gladly take more Volkswagen Beetles!

Immediately after World War Two, most of the foreign imports in theUSAhad a poor reputation for reliability.  They were better on fuel consumption that their American counterparts (but of course gasoline was very inexpensive back in those days), but this advantage was more than lost in the repairs, maintenance and breakdowns caused by poor quality and inferior reliability.  It was particularly in these areas where the Volkswagen fromGermanyexcelled beyond all other makes – be they European or American.

Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg hatten die meisten Importautos in Nordamerika einen schlechten Ruf, weil sie ziemlich unzuverläßig waren, und weil es fast unmöglich war guten Pflegedienst zu finden.  Die Importwagen waren sparsamer im Benzinverbrauch als die großen amerikanischen Autos, aber damals war Benzin verhältnismäßig billig.  Aber der Volkswagen war zuverläßiger als fast alle andere Fahrzeuge, und deswegen war er in Amerika so erfolgreich.  Im Oktober 1955 wurde die Tochterfirma “Volkswagen of America, Inc.” gegründet, und bis Ende des Jahres 1955 wurden 32,662 neue Volkswagen in Amerika verkauft.  Im Jahre 1955 wurde auch das berühmte und anschauliche Karmann-Ghia Ghia Coupé eingeführt.  Der Karmann-Ghia benutzte das selbe Fahrgestell wie der Käfer, aber die Karosserie des Karmann-Ghias wurde bei Ghia in Italien entworfen und bei Wilhelm Karmann in Osnabrück hergestellt.  Volkswagen of America, Inc. hatte Zweigstellen in Neu York aber auch in San Francisco in Kalifornien, weil der kalifornische Markt so bevölkerungsreich und auch wohlhabender war.  Im Jahre 1955 hatte Ford Motor Company aus Dearborn, Michigan schon heimlich zugegeben, daß die Volkswagen Käfer Limousine der am strengsten gebauten Wagen der Welt war!  Aber der beste und auch der wichtigste “Verkäufer” des Volkswagens war der VW-Kunde, der VW-Besitzer, selbst weil er so zufrieden und auch vom Volkswagen begeistert war.

Dr. Heinz Nordhoff finally decided to establish a brand new subsidiary company in the United States, called “Volkswagen of America, Inc.” in October 1955.  The development of a dealer-distributor organization began immediately, and sales took off correspondingly.  In 1955, sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle ballooned to 32,662 new cars.  1955 also marked the introduction of the beautiful Karmann-Ghia Coupé.  The Karmann-Ghia used a Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle chassis (platform), but came with a lovely hand-built body designed by Ghia of Italy.  The actual car was built by the Karmann coachworks ofOsnabrück,Germany– the same people who built the famous Volkswagen Beetle Convertible.  In 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. had offices in bothNew York Cityand inSan Francisco,California.  They realized early on just how important the large and affluentCaliforniamarket was.  Secretly, even the Ford Motor Company admitted internally that the Volkswagen Beetle was the most structurally rigid car in the entire world!  But the most important “sales person” was the Volkswagen customer – they loved the little car and told anyone and everyone who would listen to them what a great little car it was.

In 1956, Volkswagen Beetle sales in theUnited Statesrose to 38,129 Sedans and 2,303 Convertibles.  By 1957, Volkswagen of America had 350 dealerships all over theUnited States of America.  Sales increased yet again to 47,446 new Beetle Sedans and 2,613 Beetle Convertibles in 1957.  1957 also marked the introduction of the beautiful Type 1 Karmann-Ghia Convertible.  A Volkswagen advertisement years later claimed that “nobody can resist a topless Italian” (humorously referring to the VW Karmann-Ghia Convertible).  Based on Volkswagen’s ever increasing sales successes, they were right.

Im Jahre 1956 verkaufte Volkswagen 38,129 Käfer Limousinen und 2,303 Kabrioletts in Amerika.  Ein Jahre später, im Jahre 1957, gab es schon 350 Volkswagen Händler in Amerika, die es auf einen Umsatz von 47,446 Käfer Limousinen und 2,613 Kabrioletts brachten.  Das Karmann-Ghia Kabriolett wurde auch im Jahre 1957 eingeführt.  Und eventuell gab es eine sehr humorvolle VW-Werbung für das Karmann-Ghia Kabriolett, “Wer kann sich einer Oben-Ohne Italienerin widersetzen?”  Volkswagen ofAmericabenutzte auch mit viel Erfolg Humor in Fernseh-und Zeitschriften-Werbungen.  Viele neue Volkswagen für den amerikanischen Markt wurden vonHamburgundBremenauf großen deutschen Handelsschiffen nach Neu York verfrachtet.  Ein Containerschiff, zum Beispiel, konnte bis zu 1,850 neue Wagen faßen.  Die Nachfrage für neue Volkswagen in Amerika war so groß, daß viele Wagen “unoffiziell” von Deutschland nach Amerika exportiert wurden.  Bei dem Volkswagenwerk in Deutschland war dieser sogenannte “Graue Markt”natürlich sehr verpönt, aber damals war oft keine andere Wahl – der Wagen war sehr beliebt und die Nachfrage war einfach zu groß.  Im Jahre 1958 bekam die Käfer Limousine für den nordamerikanischen Markt ein wesentlich größeres Heckfenster.  In Europa gab es das größere Fenster schon im Jahre 1957.  Der Volkswagenumsatz in Amerika stieg auf 52,221 für den Käfer und auf 3,261 für das Kabriolett.  Im Jahre 1959 hat Volkswagen ofAmericaeine berufliche Werbeagentur engagiert, die “Doyle Dane Bernbach” Agentur ander Madison AvenueinNeuYorkCity.  Die ernsthaften und oft auch sehr humorvollen Werbungen im Fernsehen, Zeitungen und Zeitschriften waren berühmt, beliebt und zum großen Teil erfolgreich.

Brand new Volkswagen cars left the great German seaports ofHamburgandBremen, loaded onto German cargo vessels which could accommodate up to 1,850 new vehicles at a time.  But even this was not enough to satisfy the ever increasing consumer demand in theUnited States.  In addition to the many new Volkswagens sold by official dealerships, many additional new cars (or nearly new cars) were imported unofficially as “bootleg” or “gray market” cars.  No car company wants this to happen, but in the case of Volkswagen they had no choice – the demand for the car was just too great.

1958 marked a very noticeable change to the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan, namely a significantly larger rear window.  Gone was the “cozy” oval rear window (used from 1953 until 1957).  1958 sales increased to 52,221 new Beetle Sedans and 3,261 Beetle Convertibles in theUSA, plus the Karmann-Ghia and the Type 2 Volkswagen Microbus.

In 1959, Volkswagen of America finally decided to hire a professional Madison Avenue advertising agency to promote their product to the American public.  The Volkswagen ads by Doyle Dane Bernbach have since become very famous in the world of advertising.  They used humor, simplicity and honesty, and the public loved them.  They poked fun at the famous Beetle Sedan with advertising headlines such as “UGLY” or “LEMON.”  The Beetle was anything but ugly with its aerodynamic styling and perpetual front hood “smile,” but they decided to make very good use of self-deprecating humor.  The “Lemon” ad pointed out just how thorough the Volkswagen system of quality checks was.  There were literally thousands of quality inspectors employed at Volkswagen, and they were empowered to simply not allow cars with the slightest defects to leave the plant.  Such “defects” were often considered as nothing at other car companies, but at Volkswagen nothing less than absolute perfection was allowed.  In 1959, total American Volkswagen new vehicle sales reached 150,601 units (84,677 of which were Beetle Sedans and 4,180 of which were Beetle Convertibles).

Der Volkswagenumsatz in Amerika in 1959 betrug 150,601 Fahrzeuge, 84,677 Käfer und 4,180 Kabrioletts.  Im folgenden Jahr, 1960, stiegen die Lieferungen in Amerika auf insgesamt 191,372 neue Wagen, davon waren 112,027 Käfer und 5,841 Kabrioletts.  Viele Volkswagen Ersatzteile waren über Jahre hinweg austauschfähig und wurden für mehrer Modelle verwendet, wie zum Beispiel Fahrgestelle.  Von 1935 in Deutschland bis 2005 in Mexiko wurden mehr als 26 Millionen Fahrzeuge vom Typ 1 hergestellt, immer noch ein Weltrekord für nur ein Fahrgestell.  Das Typ 1 Fahrgestell umfaßt die folgenden Modelle: Käfer (Limousine und Kabriolett), Kübelwagen, Schwimmwagen, Kommandeurwagen, Kurierwagen, Miesen Krankenwagen, Denzel Kabriolett, Drews Kabriolett, Dannenhauer & Stauß Kabriolett, Ascort Coupé (aus Australien), Karmann-Ghia (Coupé und Kabriolett), Rometsch (Coupé und Kabriolett), Beutler (Coupé und Kabriolett), Enzmann Sportwagen, Meyers Manx Dune Buggy, und Sand Rail Dune Buggy.

The Doyle Dane Bernbach ads poked fun at the Volkswagen, but they also made the very most of its many positive attributes.  One ad featured a Volkswagen Beetle being washed with water and soap, and said that the only water a Volkswagen would ever require would be to wash the car.  The engine was air-cooled, and thus never required water to cool the radiator (the car had no radiator!) in the Summer or anti-freeze in the Winter.  Another advertisement featured a Volkswagen dealer who boasted quite truthfully that he had enough spare parts on hand to build a Volkswagen Beetle Sedan from scratch.  This was something which Dr. Heinz Nordhoff required.  In fact, if a Volkswagen dealership could not do this, he was in very real danger of losing his lucrative franchise!

In 1960, U.S. Volkswagen sales rose once again to include 112,027 brand new Beetle Sedans and 5,841 Beetle Convertibles.  Volkswagen advertisements boasted that parts from different model year cars were interchangeable, and that most people had great difficulty telling model years apart.  All this was possible, because the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle was built upon one common chassis (platform) from the 1935 through the 2005 model years.  Volkswagen factories all over the world (the largest being inGermany,BrazilandMexico) manufactured 26 million such cars during this 70 year period.  Cars as diverse as the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan, Sunroof Sedan, Convertible (both the more common “Karmann” convertible and the rare “Hebmüller” convertible), the Karmann-Ghia Coupé, the Karmann-Ghia Convertible, the World War Two “Kübelwagen” (and its modern counterpart, the Volkswagen “Thing”), the World War Two “Schwimmwagen” (amphibious car), the World War Two “Kommandeurwagen” (four wheel drive military Beetle), the “Rometsch” Coupé, the “Beuter” Coupé (built by a Swiss coachbuilder), the “Dannenhauer & Stauss” Roadster, the “Drews” Roadster, the “Meyers Manx” Dune Buggy (built in Southern California in the USA), the “Sand Rail” Dune Buggy (also built in the USA), the “Puma” sports car (built in Brazil), the “Miesen” Volkswagen Beetle Ambulance (built in Germany), the “Enzmann” sports car (made in Switzerland), the “Denzel” Roadster (made in Austria) and the “Ascort” Coupé (built in Australia) were all Type 1 Volkswagen passenger cars (based upon the rear-engined and air-cooled VW Beetle Sedan).

And the story does not end there.  Many more millions of Beetles and Beetle variants were manufactured outside of official Volkswagen factories, using original Volkswagen parts (factories always make more complete engines and spare parts than they do new cars for dealership service departments and automotive parts stores).  One can still buy brand new OEM (original equipment manufacturer) engines and parts made all over the world – be it fromGermany,Brazil,Mexico, or from other countries where Volkswagen Beetles once left factory assembly lines.  The grand total number of vehicles and engines made to date (both in official Volkswagen factories and elsewhere) is now in excess of 38 million.  No other single automotive chassis (platform) even comes close.  In second place worldwide is the Model T Ford, with a figure of 16 million.  Quite frankly, this makes perfect business sense as well.  Why not make the most use (and profit?) from common platforms, engines and component parts?  They can be modified easily enough for mass production, providing the customer with a diverse base of product.  Not only did Volkswagen and other companies make different body styles, but different engines as well.  The Type 1 “Beetle” engine has been made with a displacement of 895 cubic centimeters (ccm) in 1935 (output of 22 brake horsepower and top speed of just 62 miles per hour) to enthusiasts modifying such an engine with a displacement of 2,840 cubic centimeters (ccm) today.  The latter engine is barely “street legal,” with a monster output of 800 BHP (brake horsepower) and top speed of 249 miles per hour.  Who ever said a Volkswagen had to be “slow?”

Inzwischen werden auch immer noch viele restaurierte, wiedergebaute und neugebeaute Volkswagen vom Typ 1 hergestellt, auch privat und von unabhängige Firmen.  Das Volkswagenwerk in Mexiko stellt heute noch Motore und Ersatzteile her.  Und es gibt auch eine große Menge von unabhängigen Firmen weltweit die neue Motore und Ersatzteile herstellen und vertreiben, besonders in Mexiko, Brasilien, Deutschland und den Vereinigten Staaten.  Insgesamt wurden bisher 38 Millionen Volkswagen Typ 1 Motore hergestellt; davon 26 Millionen vom Volkswagenwerk und weitere 12 Millionen von unabhängigen Firmen.  Volle 38 Millionen; wesentlich mehr als die etwa 16 Millionen Exemplare des Ford Model T, das zweitmeistgebaute Fahrgestell in der Geschichte des Automobils.  Im Jahre 1935 hatte der erste Motor des Volkswagen Käfers eine Größe von nur 895 Quadratzentimeter und eine Leistung von 22 Pferdestärke (PS).  Die Höchstgeschwindigkeit des deutschen Kleinwagens lag bei 100 Stundenkilometer.  Heutige Volkswagen-Fans haben Käfer mit einer Motorengröße von 2,84 Liter und eine Leistung von 800 PS gebaut.  Die maximale Geschwindigkeit eines solchen Wagens liegt bei etwa 400 Stundenkilometer!  Wer sagt, daß ein Käfer immer “langsam” sein muß?  Volkswagen ist so erfolgreich geworden, daß andere Autohersteller VW nachäffen.  Im Jahre 1960 hat General Motors Corporation die Chevrolet Corvair Limousine und auch das Kabriolett eingeführt.  Der Wagen hatte einen luftgekühlten Heckmotor mit sechs Zylinder – auch ein Boxermotor wie der Volkswagen Käfer.  InJapanbaut Fuji-Subaru immer noch hauptsächlich Wasserboxermotoren.  Die Volkswagenlieferungen in Amerika stiegen immer höher – 203,863 neue Wagen in 1961, 222,740 im Jahre 1962, 277,008 Einheiten in 1963, 322,942 Autos im Jahre 1964, 371,221 in 1965, 480,000 neue PKWs im Jahre 1966, 525,000 in 1967 und endlich 570,000 neue Wagen im Jahre 1968.

Volkswagen has been so successful that other car companies have tried to imitate them.  But frankly, nothing is quite like the real thing.  In 1960, General Motors’ Chevrolet Division built the Chevrolet Corvair, an interesting “Notchback” sedan with a rear-mounted, air-cooled, 6-cylinder “boxer” engine.

Volkswagen sales in theUnited Statesjust kept on climbing.  They sold a record 191,372 new cars and light trucks in 1960, 203,863 in 1961, 222,740 in 1962, 277,008 in 1963, 322,942 in 1964, 371,221 in 1965, 480,000 in 1966, 525,000 in 1967 and 570,000 in 1968.

J. Stewart Perkins

My father emigrated fromBremen,Germanyin 1953.  His elder brother did so with his first wife in 1952, where this lady worked for Volkswagen of Canada inToronto,Ontariountil her retirement.  While at Volkswagen of Canada, she had the early opportunity (from 1952 until 1955) to work under the leadership of Mr. J. Stewart Perkins.  Mr. Perkins eventually became the President of theU.S.subsidiary of Volkswagen of America from 1965 until 1981.  These years were a time of “change” for the American subsidiary of Volkswagen, when sales peaked and when the product line-up was transformed from the first generation (rear-mounted engines and air-cooling) to the modern generation of cars (front-mounted engines with water-cooling).  Perkins was born inLondon,Englandin 1928 and was one of Volkswagen of America’s very first three employees when was established in April of 1955.  In June 1965, he was promoted to Vice President and General Manager of Volkswagen of America.  He became the President of VW of America in December 1965, when Dr. Carl Horst Hahn (born in 1926) returned to corporate headquarters inGermany.  Mr. Perkins disagreed with the Volkswagen plan to build the “Rabbit” model in theUnited Statesin 1976.  He believed that the logistics for such an operation were not yet in place, and did not like the fact that his superiors inGermanyappointed a former Chevrolet (General Motors) manager to run the new American Volkswagen factory inWestmoreland,Pennsylvania.  Events would prove Mr. Perkins right, when VW had less then stellar success in the Westmoreland operation.  The quality of the vehicles suffered, and there were problems with expensive labor and a less-than-cooperative labor union – the UAW, or “United Auto Workers.”  The plant would not stay in operation long, and was eventually closed by 1992.  All foreign (non-U.S.) auto manufacturers learned from the unsuccessful early attempt of Volkswagen to build cars in the American “rust belt.”

Meine Tante Ingrid Doerge Nonnenkamp (ehemalige Gattin meines Onkels Manfred Friedrich Wilhelm Nonnenkamp, der 1952 von Bremen nach Toronto, Ontario, Kanada ausgewandert ist) hat mit Herrn J. Stewart Perkins bei Volkswagen of Canada in Toronto in den Jahren 1952 bis 1955 gearbeitet.  Herr Perkins (1928 inLondon,Englandgeboren) wurde im Jahre 1955 nach Neu York versetzt um für Volkswagen of America, Inc. in einer führenden Rolle zu arbeiten.  Herr Perkins war Vorsitzender von Volkswagen of America, Inc. von 1965 bis 1981, wo er auch mit Dr. Carl Horst Hahn zusammengearbeitet hat.  Dr. Hahn (geboren 1926) war Vorsitzender von Volkswagen, A.G. inWolfsburgvon 1982 bis 1993, und dient heute noch im Vorstand des Unternehmens.  Seit 1993 ist Dr. Ferdinand Karl Piëch (geboren 1937) das einflußreichste Mitglied der Volkswagen, A.G.  Dr. Piëch ist ein Enkelsohn von Prof. Dr. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951), der berühmte Entwickler des ebenso berühmten deutschen Volkswagens sowie des gleichfalls berühmten Porsche Sportwagen.  Herr Perkins war der Meinung (im Gegensatz zu Dr. Carl Horst Hahn), daß Volkswagen ofAmericaden damals neuen VW Golf Kleinwagen nicht in Westmoreland, Pennsylvanien bauen sollte.  Der Golf ist der Nachfolger des immer noch verehrten Volkswagen Käfers, ein Fahrzeug das heute noch weltweit beliebt und erfolgreich ist.  Bedauerlicherweise war die Qualität des in Westmoreland, Pennsylvanien gebauten VW-Golf nicht vergleichbar mit den besser gebauten Modellen aus Deutschland, anderen europäischen Ländern, Brasilien, Mexiko, Südafrika, China und anderen Ländern, ein wesentlicher Grund für den verminderten Absatz von Fahrzeugen der Marke Volkswagen in Nordamerika.

Temporary Decline in the USA but Expansion Worldwide

After 1968, Volkswagen of America experienced something of a decline in sales in theUSA.  This was largely due to increased competition fromJapan, which was to affect the American car companies even more than Volkswagen.  While the American car companies would see their fortunes go down over time, Volkswagen has not.  One should not become distracted in any single national market, but see the entire world as one market of tremendous opportunity.

Volkswagenlieferungen nach Amerika schwanken oft drastisch seit 1968.  Ein Grund war natürlich die Konkurrenz aus dem Fernen Osten.  Mit der Ausnahme von Amerika hat Volkswagen jedoch fast immer weltweit gute Vortschritte machen können.  Die amerikanischen Autohersteller inDetroitdagegen haben nicht Schritt gehalten mit der zunehmenden Flut der Importfahrzeuge, was sich bald als großer Fehler festsetzte.  Im Jahre 1969 verkaufte Volkswagen in Amerika 551,366 Wagen, das Jahr in dem automatische Getriebe eingeführt wurden.  1970 stieg die Zahl auf 570,000 Wagen, genausoviel wie im Rekordjahr 1968.  Ab 1971 dagegen fiel der Umsatz drastisch bis sie im Jahre 1978 nur noch 270,000 Einheiten Käufer fanden.  1979 sah einen Aufschwung auf 300,000 neue Fahrzeuge, was aber in 1983 auf nur 166,915 Wagen herunterrutschte.   Der Absatz neuer VW-Fahrzeuge ist auf 218,402 Wagen bis 1985 gestiegen, jedoch wieder auf nur 49,533 Einheiten im Jahre 1993 gesunken.  Das Tief wurde seitdem aber nicht übertroffen.  Einige Autohersteller haben sich aus dem amerikanischen Markt zurückgezogen, wie zum Beispiel: Austin-Rover, British Leyland und die Rootes Gruppe aus England, und aus Frankreich sind es Renault, Peugeot und Citroën, und aus Italien haben wir Fiat, Lancia und Alfa-Romeo.

Volkswagen sales in the United States of America fell to 551,366 new cars and light trucks in 1969, increased to 570,000 in 1970 (thus matching the record set in 1968), but they began a gradual decline between 1971 and 1978, when they reached a level of 270,000.  They increased somewhat in 1979 to 300,000 new cars and trucks, and began yet another decline from 1980 to 1983, when they reached the level of 166,915.  They rose to the level of 218,042 new cars and trucks in the USA by 1985, but began their most serious decline in the American market thereafter, falling to the dismal level of just 49,533 new cars and trucks in 1993.  At that time, there was even talk in the media asking if Volkswagen would withdraw from theUnited States(such as many car makers fromEngland,FranceandItalyhad done after their respective sales declines in theUSA).

What caused Volkswagen to decline in theUSA, even while they continued to succeed in the rest of the world – to the degree that their overall global sales continued to increase?  In order to answer this question, one needs to look at the corporate history of Volkswagen inGermany.

Eine Frage ist: Warum hatte Volkswagen Probleme auf dem amerikanischen Markt?  Die Antwort liegt vielleicht in der gesellschaftlichen Geschichte der Volkswagen, A.G.  Im Jahre 1964 hat Volkswagen, A.G. die Auto Union von der Daimler-Benz, A.G. erworben.  Die Auto Union war im Besitz der Daimler-Benz, A.G. von 1958 bis 1964.  Die Auto Union war eine Fusion von vier Autoherstelltern – nämlich Audi, Horch, DKW und Wanderer – die im Jahre 1932 stattfand.  Prof. Dr. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951) hat schon vor Jahren Rennsportwagen für die Auto Union entwickelt.  Im Jahre 1931 entwickelte Prof. Dr. Porsche seine erste Käfer Karosserie für Wanderer.  Die verhältnismäßig große Wanderer Limousine war der persönliche Wagen von Herrn Porsche und hatte enormen Einfluß in der Entwicklung des NSU Volksautos im Jahre 1932.  Volkswagen hatte im Jahre 1969 dann auch NSU erworben und mit der Auto Union fusioniert.  Die dadurch entstandene Tochterfirma war die Audi-NSU, A.G.

In 1964, Volkswagen made their first major acquisition when they purchased Auto Union from Daimler.  AutoUnionhad been purchased by Daimler of Germany in 1958, but the maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars did not keep them for long.  They were sold to Volkswagen in 1964.  One should recall that Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. did a good deal of engineering work for Auto Union, including building racing cars for them in the early 1930s.  AutoUnionwas formed in 1932 from the merger of four German car companies (Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer).  In 1969, Volkswagen purchased yet another independent German car company called NSU, and merged it with Auto Union under the new corporate name Audi-NSU, A.G. (“A.G.” stands for “Aktiengesellschaft” inGermany, which translates to “joint stock company” in English).

In 1931, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. had his first aerodynamic “Beetle”-like car body built for his own personal car, a Wanderer Sedan.  In 1934, he and his staff constructed three prototype NSU “peoples’ cars” which already greatly resembled the first official Volkswagen Beetle prototype of 1935.

Im Jahre 1934 hat Prof. Dr. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. drei Prototypen für NSU entwickelt, die schon dem eventuellen luftgekühlten deutschen Volkswagen von 1935 sehr ähnlich waren.  Die fünf Stammfirmen der Audi-NSU, A.G. haben selbst ihre eigene Geschichte.  Audi wurde im Jahre 1909 von August Horch (1868-1951) gegründet, der die zwei Luxusmarken Audi und Horch herstellte.  “Audi” ist die lateinische Übersetzung für Horch (zu hören).  DKW bedeutet “Dampf Kraft Wagen,” und wurde von 1916 bis 1966 hergestellt.  DKW wurde von einem dänischen Einwanderer nach Deutschland gegründet, der Jorgen Skafte Rasmussen (1878-1964) hieß.  Der heutige Audi ist der direkte technische Nachfolger des damaligen DKWs.  Die Marke Wanderer existierte von 1896 bis 1945, und die Firma NSU wurde im Jahre 1873 in Bayern gegründet.  Die letzten NSU Wagen wurden im Jahre 1977 hergestellt.  Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff hat die Volkswagenwerk, A.G. von 1948 bis zu seinem Tod im Jahre 1968 geleitet.  Sein Nachfolger Dr. Kurt Lotz (1912-2005) war der Vorsitzende von Volkswagen von 1968 bis 1971.  Als beruflicher Ingenieur wie Dr. Nordhoff wollte Dr. Kurt Lotz die Volkswagenwerk, A.G. modernisieren.  Volkswagen brauchte einen Nachfolger für den Käfer, einen Nachfolger der weltweit konkurrenzfähig sein sollte.

All of these German car companies purchased by Volkswagen from 1964 to 1969 came with their own rich corporate histories.  Audi was founded by the famous German engineer August Horch (1868-1951) in 1909.  He built the two luxury brands of both Horch and Audi. “Audi” is merely the Latin translation of his surname “Horch,” which means “to hear” in English.  The Horch brand name was built from 1899 until 1932, since which time it has remained dormant.

DKW (an abbreviation for “Dampf-Kraft-Wagen” in German or “Steam-powered Car” in English) was built from 1916 until 1966, since which time it has also remained dormant.  DKW was a German car company founded by a Danish immigrant toGermanynamed Jorgen Skafte Rasmussen (1878-1964).  The modern Audi the world knows today is a direct technical descendant of the DKW of 1966.

The Wanderer car company ofGermanymade cars under that name from 1896 until 1945.  The NSU Motor Car Company (based inBavariainSouthern Germany) was even older, having been founded in 1873.  Volkswagen phased the NSU brand name out in 1977, since which time it has also remained dormant.

Volkswagen’s great post-World War Two Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff, led Volkswagen from the tough days of 1948 until his death in 1968.  He was succeeded by Dr. Kurt Lotz (1912-2005), who led Volkswagen from 1968 until 1971.  Dr. Lotz (a professional engineer like most German manufacturing company managers) made it his priority to “modernize” Volkswagen, and to start work on possible new car models which would have to compete in an ever tougher global business environment.  In fact, it was under his tenure that Volkswagen engineers began work on what would become the successful Volkswagen Golf hatchback – a very worthy successor to the old air-cooled Beetle Sedan.  This engineering work would eventually use a very good deal of technology from the Audi-NSU subsidiary of Volkswagen.

Dr. Kurt Lotz was succeeded as Volkswagen’s Chief Executive by Dr. Rudolf Leiding (1914-2003), who had gained good experience and fame as the head of the largest Volkswagen subsidiary outside of its native Germany, namely Volkswagen do Brasil, S.A. in Brazil.  Dr. Leiding led Volkswagen from 1971 until 1975, during which time many entirely new models were introduced to the world market.  These included the Volkswagen Passat (based upon the Audi 80 or Audi “Fox” as it was known in the USA), the Volkswagen Scirocco Sports Car (the worthy successor to the venerable and beautiful Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia Coupé) and of course the Volkswagen Golf (successor to the most popular car in the history of mankind, namely the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan).  The Volkswagen Passat was initially known as the Volkswagen “Dasher” and then as the Volkswagen “Quantum” inNorth America.

Der Volkswagen Golf unterscheidet sich vom Volkswagen Käfer hinsichtlich.  Im Golf liegt der Motor vorne, ist wassergekühlt und ist ein Linienzylindermotor.  Beim Käfer dagegen ist der Motor luftgekühlt, liegt hinten nahe den Antriebrädern und ist ein Boxermotor.  Der Radstand vom Golf I glich dem des alten Käfers, und der Motor des Wagens liegt immer noch direkt den Antriebrädern gegenüber.  Dr. Rudolf Leiding (1914-2003), ehemals Geschäftsführer bei Volkswagen do Brasil, S.A., war Nachfolger von Dr. Kurt Lotz, und leitete das Volkswagenwerk  inWolfsburgvon 1971 bis 1975.  Zu dieser Zeit wurden weltweit viele vollkommen neue Volkswagenmodelle eingeführt.  Der Volkswagen Passat I war auf den Audi 80 basiert.  In Nordamerika wurde der Passat I als “Dasher” bekannt (“Dasher” -“Renner” auf deutsch) und der Audi 80 als “Fox” (“Fuchs” auf deutsch).  In Europa wurde der Passat I im Jahre 1973 eingeführt und in Nordamerika ein Jahr später im Jahre 1974.  Die total neuen Modelle sichterten weltweit den Erfolg des Unternehmens.  Wie erwähnt, unterschieden sich die neuen Modelle wesentlich von der ersten Generation.  Jedoch war die Einführung der neuen Modelle in Nordamerika nicht sehr erfolglreich und der Umsatz in Kanada und den Vereinigten Staaten hat darunter gelitten.  Herr Toni Schmücker (1921-1996) war der Nachfolger von Dr. Rudolf Leiding,  der das Volkswagenwerk, A.G. inWolfsburgbis 1982 leitete.

The new models introduced by Volkswagen in the early 1970s ensured the continued success of the company, but they certainly did represent a break from the ideas of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (a rear-mounted engine which was cooled by air and where the cylinders were horizontally opposed in a “boxer” concept).  The new generation of cars have mostly “in-line” cylinder engines mounted in the front which are cooled by water.  This had much to do with internal corporate politics at Volkswagen (the Audi-NSU management team winning out over the Volkswagen management team), but the important thing is that the commitment to engineering and quality never suffered on a global level.  The introduction of these new models was not handled well in the North American market, which unfortunately cost the company sales for many a year in both theUnited StatesandCanada.

Dr. Rudolf Leiding was succeeded as Chief Executive of Volkswagen by Toni Schmücker (1921-1996), who led VW from 1975 until he suffered a heart attack in 1982.  He had been the Chairman of Rheinstahl (a German steel company) from 1968 until 1975.  Prior to joining Rheinstahl, Mr. Schmücker had a life-long career at Ford of Germany, where he rose through the ranks to become their Purchasing Manager by 1956, a member of the Board of Directors of FordGermanyby 1961 and their Sales Manager in 1967.

Herr Toni Schmücker (1921-1996) leitete die Firma Rheinstahl von 1968 bis er 1975 Vorsitzender vom Volkswagenwerk wurde.  Davor war Herr Schmücker bei den deutschen Fordwerken in Köln tätig – ab 1956 als Kaufsmanager, ab 1961 als Vorstandsmitglied, und ab 1967 als Verkaufsmanager.  Dr. Carl Horst Hahn (geboren 1926) leitete das Volkswagenwerk von 1982 bis 1993.  Und seitdem diente er immer noch im Vorstand des Unternehmens.  Dr. Hahn studierte an der Universität vonBernin der Schweiz und war als Volkswirtschaftler inParistätig bevor er im Jahre 1953 in das Volkswagenwerk inWolfsburgeintrat.  Von 1958 bis 1965 diente Dr. Hahn als Vorsitzender von Volkswagen of America, Inc., wo er die Werbeagentur Doyle, Dane, Bernbach engagierte, die die jetzt noch bekannten VW-Werbungen entwickelte.  Dr. Ferdinand Karl Piëch (geboren 1937 in Wien) ist seit 1993 das einflußreichste Mitglied der Volkswagen, A.G.  Von 1993 bis 2002 diente Dr. Piëch als Vorstandsvorsitzender des Unternehmens.  Er ist ein Enkelsohn mütterlicherseits von Prof. Dr. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951).  Dr. Piëch studierte in Zürich, in der Schweiz, bis 1962, und war von 1963 bis 1971 als Ingenieur bei der Porsche, A.G. in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen tätig.  Von 1971 bis 1993 arbeitete er bei der Audi, A.G. inIngolstadt, bevor er im Jahre 1993 Vorstandsvorsitzender bei Volkswagen, A.G. in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben wurde.

Mr. Schmücker was succeeded as Chief Executive of Volkswagen by Dr. Carl Horst Hahn (born in 1926), who led VW from 1982 until 1993.  Dr. Hahn remains on the Board of Directors of Volkswagen inWolfsburg, with the title of Chairman Emeritus.  Dr. Hahn joined Volkswagen in 1953, when he became a personal assistant to the venerable Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff.  Dr. Hahn earned a doctorate in economics from theUniversityofBerneinSwitzerlandand worked as a professional economist inParis,Franceprior to joining Volkswagen in 1953.  He was the President of Volkswagen of America from 1958 until 1965, during which time he hired the Madison Avenue advertising agency of Doyle, Dane, Bernbach to make the now-legendary Volkswagen magazine and television ads.

Dr. Carl Horst Hahn was succeeded as Chief Executive of Volkswagen by the great Dr. Ferdinand Karl Piëch (born in 1937), who directly led Volkswagen from 1993 until 2002.  He remains upon the Board of Directors of Volkswagen, A.G., and is arguably the most influential executive of the Volkswagen Group to this very day.  Dr. Piëch is a grandson of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr., the great Austrian engineer who designed the legendary Volkswagen Beetle Sedan.  He was born inVienna,Austriaand graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich in 1962.  He worked for his family’s company of Porsche, A.G. inStuttgart,Germanyfrom 1963 until 1971, and then he made the career move to Audi – where he worked until becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen in 1993.  Dr. Piëch is a truly great engineer (like his maternal grandfather Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.) and was personally instrumental in designing fine cars such as the Porsche 804, the Porsche 906, the Porsche 917, the Audi 80, the Audi 100 and the Audi Quattro.  In fact, the Audi 80 and Audi 100 Sedans were so successful in the market that they ensured the recovery and the survival of the company in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Dr. Ferdinand Karl Piëch hat bei der Porsche, A.G. in Stuttgart Rennsportwagen wie den Porsche 804, den Porsche 906 und den Porsche 917 persönlich entwickelt.  Bei der Audi, A.G. inIngolstadthat er Modelle wie die Audi 80 und die Audi 100 Limousine und den Audi Quattro Fließheck entworfen.  Beide Limousinen waren für die Firma von großer Bedeutung, sie sicherten das weitere Bestehen der Audi, A.G.  Der Volkswagen Passat I (Nachfolger des Volkswagen Typ 3 Stufenheck, Variant, Fließheck und des “großen” Karmann-Ghia 1600) war auf der Audi 80 basiert.  Die zeitweilige Konjunkturschwankung  bei Volkswagen of Amerika erklärte Dr. Piëch mit der Entwicklung der “New Beetle” (“neuer Käfer”) Limousine.  Das Fahrgestell der New Beetle ist auf das der Golf Limousine basiert was dem Werk an Produktionskosten zugute kommt.  Dr. Piëch hat die Fahrgestelle der Gruppe Volkswagen von weltweit 16 auf nur vier reduziert und dadurch die Leistungsfähigkeit werkweit wesentlich gesteigert.  Die “aktive” Marken der Gruppe Volkswagen sind Volkswagen selbst, Audi, SEAT (Spanien), Skoda (Tschechien), Bentley (aus Crewe in England), Lamborghini (Italien), Bugatti (Elsaß), MAN (Lastkraftwagen aus Bayern), Scania (Lastkraftwagen aus Schweden) und  Porsche Fahrzeuge.  Durch die geschickte Durchführung seiner Leitung des Unternehmens ist es Dr. Piëch gelungen die Gruppe Volkswagen weltweit groß und erfolgreich aufzubauen.

Corporate leaders such as Dr. Piëch have both a tremendous grasp of engineering and of the global marketplace.  Even while Volkswagen was having trouble in theUnited States, they never fell quite so far inCanada.  Furthermore, they continued to excel throughout Europe (in both their traditional West European market including their home base in Germany, and in the growing markets of the former Eastern Bloc), Latin America (especially in the large important markets of Brazil, Mexico and Argentina), Asia (especially in the massive and rapidly growing markets of Mainland China, India and Turkey) and Africa (especially in larger markets such as South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt).

Dr. Piëch’s response to the temporary setback in theUnited Stateswas to approve the development of the “New Beetle.”  This unique car captured the spirit of the old (first generation, rear-engined, air-cooled) Beetle Sedan, but was technologically identical to the Volkswagen Golf – the worthy successor of the old Beetle Sedan.  During his tenure at the Volkswagen Group, Dr. Piëch was instrumental in reducing the number of different automotive platforms from 16 down to 4, while at the same time greatly increasing the number of different models built upon those platforms.  This makes good business sense, and helped make Volkswagen the highly efficient automotive group it is today.  Furthermore, this uniformity in automotive platforms can be seen across the many brands within the group (these include Volkswagen itself, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Porsche).  During his tenure as the Chief Executive of the Volkswagen Group, Dr. Piëch oversaw the Volkswagen purchase of other vehicle companies such as Bentley of England, Lamborghini of Italy, Bugatti of theAlsaceregion inFrance, MAN ofGermanyand Scania of Sweden.

For example, the Volkswagen Golf platform is or has been used for the Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Rabbit, the Volkswagen City Golf, the Volkswagen Caribe, the Volkswagen Scirocco, the Volkswagen Corrado, the Volkswagen Caddy, the Volkswagen CrossFox, the Volkswagen New Beetle, the Volkswagen Jetta, the Volkswagen Vento, the Volkswagen Jetta and the Volkswagen Bora.  Add to this the Audi A3, the Audi TT, the SEATToledo, the Skoda Felicia and the Skoda Octavia.  A somewhat modified (smaller) Volkswagen Golf platform is or has been used for the Volkswagen Polo, the Volkswagen Polo Classic, the Volkswagen Derby, the Volkswagen Lupo, the Volkswagen Gol (not to be confused with “Golf”), the Volkswagen Pointer, the Volkswagen Amazon, the Volkswagen Voyage, the Volkswagen Parati, the Volkswagen Saveiro, the Audi 50, SEAT Ibiza and the SEATCordoba.  One can see how this makes such good business sense – many diverse models all around the globe based upon one basic platform.  One saves on tooling, component parts and the process of production while getting the most out of a great product.  The total number of passenger cars built and sold worldwide to date on the Volkswagen Golf and modified Volkswagen Golf platforms exceeds 90 million.  The platforms change from generation to generation (as they do at car companies around the world), so old the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle still holds the world record for any car built on a single chassis or platform.  The Volkswagen Golf was introduced to the German market in 1974 (toNorth Americain 1975) and is now in its sixth generation.  Of the 90 million cars based upon the Golf platform, more than 25 million of them have been Volkswagen Golf hatchbacks.  More than 6 million of them have been Volkswagen Jetta sedans and station wagons.  More than 4 million of them have been of the Volkswagen Gol model (not to be confused with “Golf”) fromBrazil.  “Golf” is the German word for “gulf” wind, whereas “Gol” is the Portuguese word for “goal,” as in soccer “goal” – the most popular sport in most of the world.

Das Volkswagen Golf Fahrgestell wird auch für andere Modelle der Gruppe Volkswagen verwendet.  Einschließlich Golf sind das zum Beispiel Rabbit (“Kaninchen”) in Nordamerika, City Golf (in Südafrika), Caribe (vormals in Mexiko und Zentralamerika), Scirocco, Corrado, Caddy (ein Kleinlieferwagen), CrossFox, New Beetle, Jetta, Vento, Bora, Audi A3, Audi TT Sportwagen, SEAT Toledo, Skoda Felicia sowie Skoda Octavia.  Außerdem noch zwei modifizierte kleinere Golf Fahrgestelle wie der Volkswagen Polo, Polo Classic,Derby(Mexiko), Lupo, Gol (Brasilien), Pointer (Mexiko und Rußland), Amazon, Voyage (Argentinien), Parati, Saveiro (Kleinpritschenwagen), Audi 50, SEAT Ibiza sowie SEATCordoba.  Seit 1974 wurden insgesamt mehr als 90 Millionen Personenkraftwagen auf die sechs Generationen Golf Fahrgestelle hergestellt.  Von den 90 Millionen Fahrzeugen sind mehr als 25 Millionen für den Golf selbst, sechs Millionen für Jettas (der Bora in Nordamerika), und vier Millionen für Gols in Brasilien verwendet worden.  “Gol” ist portugiesich für Fußball “Tor” auf deutsch.  Die Volkswagen New Beetle Limousine hat es Volkswagen ofAmericaermöglicht nach Jahren den Umsatz in den Vereinigten Staaten zu verbessern.  Allgemeine Lieferungen in Amerika sind von 49,533 im Jahre 1993 auf erstaunliche 265,355 im Jahre 1998 gestiegen.  Im folgenden Jahr 1999 sind Verkaufe allerdings auf nur 132,677 gesunken, was sich auf die Veränderung von der dritten zur vierten Generation der Modelle Golf und Jetta zurückführen läßt.  Ab 1999 bis 2003 sind die Jahresneulieferungen in Amerika jedoch auf einen Rekord von 630,650 Einheiten gestiegen.  Und ab 2003 sind die Umsätze in Amerika wieder gesunken.  Allerdings ist die Wirtschaftslage in den Vereinigten Staaten im großen und ganzen in Schwierigkeiten.  Im Rekordjahr 1985 wurden mehr als 21 Millionen neue Personenkraftwagen und Lastkraftwagen in den USA verkauft, und für 2009 werden es schätzungsweise etwa acht oder neun Millionen sein.

The New Beetle was a success in theUnited States, as was a new generation of the Volkswagen Passat and numerous other models such as the Volkswagen Jetta Sedan and Station Wagon.  Sales in theUSAincreased from a nadir of 49,533 new cars and light trucks in 1993 to 265,355 by 1998.  They fell to just 132,677 in 1999 (a year in which the Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Jetta moved from the third to the fourth generation platform), but increased yet again until they reached a most impressive 630,650 new cars and trucks in 2003 – even better than the glory days of Volkswagen of America in 1968 and 1970.

Volkswagen sales in theUnited Stateshave fallen since 2003, but something far more important has been transpiring in this critical time period.  The American economy took off into an historic bull market in 1982.  Unfortunately, this historic boom was fueled mostly by credit (as opposed to real money) especially in the decades of the 1990s and 2000s.  This has especially been the case since 1995.  Since 1997, the average investor (and the average professional money manager as well) has seen no net gain in the American equity market.  Most Americans, most foreigners investing in theUSA, and most banks have now lost an extremely large amount of money in the American equity market and in the American real estate market.  The cumulative loss in theUSAis something like US $38 trillion thus far, and worldwide the cumulative total (which includes the loss in theUSA) now stands at about US $56 trillion.  The Dow Jones 30 Industrial Average and the Standard & Poors 500 Index peaked in real terms in 1999 and in nominal terms in 2007.  The Nasdaq Composite Index (which includes 4,200 companies and is thus far more representative of the American equity market) peaked in real terms in 1999 and in nominal terms in 2000.  By March 2009, it had lost 72% of its nominal value – and even more of its real value.  The stock market fueled the American credit boom from 1982 to 2000, and the real estate market did so until 2006.

Die Geschichte von Volkswagen in Amerika ist leichter zu verstehen wenn man die gesellschaftliche Geschichte von Volkswagen in Betracht zieht, und dazu die wirtschaftliche Geschichte der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika unter die Lupe nimmt.  Von 1982 bis 2000 konnte die amerikanische Wirtschaft enormes Wachstum verzeichnen.  Ab 1995 wurde das große Wachstum allerdings nur durch außergewöhnlich hohe Verschuldung erreicht (Verschuldung der Regierung auf allen Ebenen, der Industrie, sowie des rücksichtslosen Verbrauchers).  Seit Januar 2000, aber besonders ab Oktober 2007 hat die amerikanische und auch die weltweite Wirtschaft ungewöhnlich große Verlußte verbuchen müßen.  Weltweite Börsen-, Kredit-und Immobilien Verlußte seit 2005 haben unglaubliche 250 Tausend-Milliarden Dollar erreicht.  Die große Mehrheit aller Gesamtweltverschuldung sind in US-Dollar Währung benannt weil dieUSAund die Amerikaner selbst hoch verschuldet sind.  Die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika ist eines der reichsten Länder der Welt – bis jetzt.  Seit Jahren hat Amerika nicht mehr viel produziert, jedoch verhältnismäßig mehr verbraucht.  Landesweit hat die amerikanische Industrie viele lukrative Arbeitsplätze verloren.  Das Niveau amerikanischer Hochschulabsolventen ist drastisch gesunken.  Amerika ist weltweit hoch verschuldet, besonders an Länder wie China, und ist fast mittellos diese Verschuldungen zu begleichen.  Amerikanische Gesetzte sind so streng (wie zum Beispiel auf dem Gebiet vom Umweltschutz), und die Steuern sind so hoch, daß viele Firmen, einheimische und auch ausländische, aus Gründen der Rentabilität es sich nicht leisten können weiter im Lande zu wirtschaften.  Amerikanische Gewerkschaften haben Löhne außer Reichweite getrieben, in der Autoindustrie bei General Motors haben sie unglaubliche US $78,00 pro Stunde erreicht.  Amerika hat viele Arbeitsplätze schon verloren und wird warscheinlich viel mehr verlieren.

Things in theUnited Statesare now profoundly precarious.  Credit was inflated by the central banking system (the Federal Reserve).  The nominal value of most assets ballooned (most especially corporate stocks, and then real estate).  Financial institutions (commercial banks, investment banks, mortgage banks, insurance companies) loaned out a tremendous amount of money (the hard-earned savings of many individual Americans, of American corporations and of foreigners), most recently in the form of home mortgage loans and so-called “home equity loans.”  This credit was used to by anything and everything from automobiles (especially light trucks and sport utility vehicles), television sets (especially wide screen TVs), stereo systems, swimming pools, vacations, college tuition right down to weekly grocery bills.

The horrific problem with this scenario is thatAmericawas consuming but not investing.  The savings of business were loaned out to buy the toys of consumers, whereas in reality it would have been much better for the savings of individuals to be loaned out to business – to invest in new factories, equipment and in research for the future.  This is precisely what is happening in the truly booming economies of MainlandChina,Indiaand in much of the rest of the developing world (especially in the highly dynamic Asia-Pacific region).  ButAmericahas gone into debt so that consumers might splurge on that which they cannot truly afford. America’s economic base (especially her manufacturing base but now even much of her service base such as financial services) is leaving the country for greener pastures in other countries.  The business environment inAmericais just too hostile and too expensive.  Taxes are extremely high, benefits are very costly, regulation is a nightmare (Americahas more lawyers than the rest of the world combined), and the public education system is a complete failure (it is the most costly in the world, but has among the worst end product).

Americahas more energy reserves than the rest of the world combined (crude oil, natural gas, coal and uranium), but it is virtually impossible to explore and drill or mine for new energy.  MainlandChinaandIndiaare turning out the most (and now the best) engineers, whereas theUnited States of Americais graduating more massage therapists than engineers.  The population in theUSAis ageing rapidly, because families are now very small.  Private pension systems and especially the massive public Social Security and Medicare system will soon face financial insolvency.  The “baby boom” generation is already starting to retire at the same time when many American families now have more dogs than human children.  Unfortunately, dogs never grow up to get college educations, good high-paying jobs and to pay taxes.

Die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika haben mehr Energiereserven (Erdöl und Erdgas) als alle anderen Länder der Welt zusammen.  Aber wegen sogenannte “Umweltschutzgesetze,” ist es aber bedauerlicherweise fast unmöglich, diese enormen Reserven auszubeuten.  China und Indien haben heute mehr Ingenieure; die Vereinigten Staaten dagegen haben die meisten Massagetherapeutiker, ein wesentlicher Nachteil für eine Industrienation wie Amerika.  Heutzutage haben Amerikaner kleine Familien, nicht genügend ausgebildete Kinder, sehr viel Arbeitslose, Behinderte und Rentner, eine Unzahl vom Steuergeld abhänginge Leute.  Amerika hat nur 27 Millionen kleine Kinder und Unversitäts-Studenten (aus einer Gesamtbevölkerung von 307 Millionen), aber mehr als 60 Millionen Hunde.  Leider ist es unmöglich, für Hunde Arbeitsplätze zu haben und Steuern zu bezahlen.  Die finanzielle Lage der amerikanischen Nation steht vor einer bedrohlichen Zukunft.

American car companies started the disastrous trend of “selling” cars and trucks for “no money down” and “zero interest financing.”  What did this do to them?  It transformed them from manufacturing companies (which is a very good thing) into banking institutions with terrible loan portfolios (which is a very bad thing).  Unfortunately, many of the Japanese and European automakers went right down the same precarious path.  Companies especially such as Toyota-Isuzu, RenaultNissan and Honda-Acura altered their product portfolios to include the same type of large (massive) gas-guzzling vehicles which appealed to highly indebted American public.  Vehicles such as the Toyota Tundra Pickup Truck, the Toyota Sequoia SUV, the Nissan Titan Pickup Truck, the Nissan Armada SUV and the Honda Ridgeline Pickup Truck come to mind.  These are much like the products coming out ofDetroit(such as the Ford F-Series line of Pickup Trucks, the Ford Expedition SUV, the Ford Explorer SUV, the Dodge Ram Pickup Truck, the GM Hummer SUV, and the Chevrolet Suburban SUV).  And this was mostly sold on credit, for no money down with zero interest financing – all done with home equity loans (where there is no longer any “equity”).  Thus have most American, Japanese and West European auto companies fallen into massive annual losses, running into the billions of Dollars, Yen and Euros.  And all of these companies in theUSA, inJapan, inFrance, inItaly, in theUnited Kingdomand inGermanyare now receiving some sort of massive public sector (taxpayer-funded) “help.”

With of course the exception of Volkswagen-Porsche of Germany-Austria, Ford Motor Company of the USA, Hyundai-Kia of South Korea, Caterpillar Tractor of the USA, Honda Motor of Japan, Paccar of the USA (the maker of Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF and Leyland commercial trucks), BMW-Mini of Germany, Tata of India, Daimler of Germany and Suzuki of Japan, most other car companies in the USA and Japan are losing a lot of money.  Even the up-and-coming car companies of MainlandChinabooked half (52%) the amount of income during the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of 2008.

Dr. Ferdinand Karl Piëch was succeeded by Bernd Pischetsrieder (born in 1948) as the Chief Executive of the Volkswagen Group in 2002, who served in this capacity until 2006.  Mr. Pischetsrieder is yet another German engineer.  He was born inMunich,Bavaria(inSouthern Germany) and worked for BMW from 1973 until 1999.

Bernd Pischetsrieder (1948 in München geboren), ein beruflicher Ingenieur, war Vorstandsvorsitzender von Volkswagen, A.G. von 2002 bis 2006.  Von 1973 bis 1999 arbeitete er bei BMW, A.G. in München, wo er auch als Vorstandsvorsitzender des Unternehmens diente.  Seit 2006 ist Dr. Martin Winterkorn (geboren 1947) der heutige Vorstandsvorsitzender von Volkswagen.  Von 1993 bis 2006 war Dr. Winterkorn bei Volkswagens Tochterfirma Audi, A.G. inIngolstadtin Bayern, wo er auch Vorsitzender war.  Von 1977 bis 1993 war Dr. Winterkorn bei Robert Bosch, G.m.b.H.  Bis 1977 studierte er bei dem Max Planck Institut.  Heute ist Audi die erfolgreichste Luxusmarke der Welt (gefolgt von BMW aus München in Bayern und von Mercedes-Benz inStuttgartin Schwaben, Baden-Württemberg).  Volkswagenlieferungen in Amerika sind von einem Rekordumsatz von 630,650 Einheiten im Jahre 2003 auf nur 293,536 Fahrzeuge im Jahre 2005 gesunken.  Seitdem ist der VW-Umsatz in den Vereinigten Staaten jedoch auf etwa 362,000 Einheiten im Jahr gestiegen – beträchtlich wenn man die allgemeine heutige Wirtschaftslage in den Vereinigten Staaten  in Bezug nimmt.  Bemerkenswert ist jedoch auch, daß Volkswagen weltweit erfolgreich ist und einen guten Ruf genießt.

Bernd Pischetsrieder was succeeded by Dr. Martin Winterkorn (born in 1947) as the new and current Chief Executive of the Volkswagen Group in 2006.  Dr. Winterkorn was previously the CEO of Audi, A.G., the highly-successful luxury car subsidiary of Volkswagen, A.G.  He received his doctorate from the Max Planck Institute for Metal Research and Metal Physics in 1977, and worked for Robert Bosch G.m.b.H. (a German automotive component parts company) from 1977 until 1993.  He joined the Volkswagen Group in 1993.

Volkswagen Group new vehicle sales in theUnited Statesfell from their all-time record high of 630,650 new cars and light trucks in 2003 to just 293,536 in 2005.  Since then, they have recovered to the level of about 362,000 per year.  The important fact is that total Volkswagen Group sales worldwide are now at a record pace of about 6,6 million new cars and trucks (passenger cars, light trucks and heavy commercial trucks) – more than any automotive group on earth.  They recently surpassed both Toyota-Isuzu ofJapanand General Motors Corporation of theUnited Statesto become number one in unit volume.  They have been number one in net profit since about 2006.  This is amazing when one considers where the bombed-out Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben was during those dark days of May 1945, or during the years from 1945 to 1948 – when the auto companies of the world turned their noses down at Volkswagen.  As the late great Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff once said, Volkswagen’s success has nothing to do with “miracles,” but with a lot of hard honest work.  The company was driven by engineering excellence going back to the early days of its “grandfather,” Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.  They learned precision in manufacturing and excellent customer service from their great patriarch of a manager Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff from 1948 to 1968.  They have learned how to become a truly world-class player in the field of business under the leadership and guidance of Dr. Ferdinand Karl Piëch, a grandson of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.

The Type 2 Volkswagen Bus

Back in 1947, the Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon visited the Volkswagen factory inWolfsburg-Fallersleben,Germany.  While there, he noticed small trucks driving around the factory floor.  These simple trucks were based upon a Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle chassis, and were known by the name of “Plattenwagen” in German (“flat vehicle” in English).  They were used to transport supplies and parts around the VW factory.  Ben Pon suggested to Dr. Heinz Nordhoff that Volkswagen should built a light truck based upon the Type 1 Beetle Sedan, something of a “box on wheels” to haul either people or cargo.  What emerged from this suggestion was nothing less than the Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter, or Microbus.  Quite frankly, it was Volkswagen (and not Chrysler) which gave birth to the idea of the “minivan.”

Im Jahre 1947 besuchte der niederländische Exportkaufmann Ben Pon die Volkswagenfabrik in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben.  Da hat er die sogenannten “Plattenwagen” gesehen.  Der Plattenwagen war ein einfacher Lastwagen (ein offener Pritschenwagen), der auf einem Käfer Fahrgestell gebaut war.  VW hat die Plattenwagen benutzt, um Bauteile durch die große Fabrik zu transportieren.  Ben Pon schlug Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordoff vor, daß Volkswagen einen Kleinlastwagen und einen Kombiwagen bauen sollte.  Dadurch ist der weltberühmte Volkswagen Typ 2 (Kleinbus, Kombi, Samba, Kastenwagen, Pritschenwagen, Doppelkabine, Wohnwagen) entstanden.  Volkswagen (und nicht Chrysler, wie viele Amerikaner annehmen) hat den ersten Kleinbuskonzept entwickelt.  Im Jahre 1949 wurden acht Produktionsprototypen des Typ 2 Kastenwagens (der sogenannte “Bulli”) hergestellt.  Im folgenden Jahr, 1950, wurden bereits 8,059 Exemplare des Typ 2 Kastenwagens und des Typ 2 Kombiwagens (der Kleinbus) verkauft.

Eight pre-production prototype Volkswagen Transporters were built by theWolfsburgfactory in 1949.  The first such vehicles were Panel Vans, made to haul cargo.  8,059 Volkswagen Transporters were built and sold in 1950.  What followed the practical Panel Van (called the “Kastenwagen” in German) was the Microbus (to move people more than cargo) in either the basic “Kombi” version or the Deluxe “Samba” version.  The “Samba” is especially prized among collectors today, and is often called a 21 or 23 window bus.  Other variants included the single cab pickup truck (called the “Pritchenwagen” in German), and the double or crew cab pickup truck (called the “Doppelkabine” in German).  The modern German military (the “Bundeswehr”), police departments, fire departments, the German Post Office and many private businesses soon began special ordering their own Volkswagen Transporters.

The earliest Volkswagen Transporters used a Type 1 “Beetle” engine in the rear.  In 1949, top speed was a mere 50 miles per hour – but this was in an era when not many people inGermanyand the other countries ofEuropeowned cars or trucks.  The Volkswagen Transporter was extremely practical (especially for business owners both large and small) and sales took off correspondingly.  Worldwide sales of this first true “minivan” were 8 vehicles in 1949, 8,059 vehicles in 1950, 12,003 in 1951, 21,665 in 1952, 28,417 in 1953 and 40,199 in 1954.  These early years were the time period of the so-called “barn door” Volkswagen Transporters, so named due to the large rear lid for the engine compartment.  In 1955, the rear engine lid was somewhat modified to be smaller.  The Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter still used a Type 1 “Beetle” engine, but that engine was modified in configuration to fit better into the light truck.  The exterior of the vehicle did not change much, but technical improvements came every single year – as they did with Volkswagen passenger cars.

Die Höchtsgeschwindigkeit des ersten Volkswagen Busses lag bei etwa 81 Studenkilometer.  Eine angebrachte Geschwindigkeit unter Betrachtung der Anzahl von Kraftfahrzeuge auf den Straßen zu der Zeit, nicht nur in Deutschland sondern auch in anderen Ländern Europas.  Der Kastenwagen und der Kleinbus waren sehr praktisch und beliebt und deswegen auch erfolgreich.  Die weltweiten Neulieferungen vom Volkswagen Typ 2 im Jahre 1949 waren klägliche acht Fahrzeuge.  Dann ging es nur noch aufwärts:  8,059 Fahrzeuge im Jahre 1950, 1951 sah schon 12,003 Wagen, und 1952 stieg der Verkauf auf 21,665 Einheiten, 1953 kletterte es auf 28,417 und im Jahre 1954 waren es schon 40,199 Fahrzeuge.  Modelljahren von 1949 bis 1954 für den Typ 2 war die Zeit des großen Heckdeckels.  Auf englisch nannte man diese frühen VW-Busse “Barn Door” Busse (“Scheunentür” auf deutsch).  Ab 1955 wurde der Heckdeckel etwas kleiner weil der vom Typ 1 stammende Motor geändert wurde.  Zwischen 1949 und 1970 (1971 in Nordamerika) bekam der Volkswagen Typ 2 Bus den Motor der Volkswagen Typ 1 Käfer Limousine.  Der globale Umsatz des Volkswagen Typ 2 stieg laufend an.  1955 sah 49,907 Käufer, im folgenden Jahr 1956 waren es 62,500, und im Jahre 1957 waren es 91,993 neue Wagen, und 1958 waren es bereits 105,562 Einheiten.  1959 wurden 129,836 VW-Busse verkauft, 1960 stieg es auf 151,218.  1961 lag es bei 168,600 und im Jahre 1962 waren es schon 180,337 Fahrzeuge.  Die Größe des Motors während der Zeit von 1949 bis 1953 war 1,131 quadratzentimeter, und stieg auf 1,192 quadratzentimeter von 1954 bis 1962 (wie auch bei der Käfer Limousine).  Ab 1963 bekam der Volkswagen Bus einen 1,493 quadratzentimeter Motor – so groß wie der Motor des Volkswagen Typ 3 (Stufenheck Limousine vom Baujahr 1960 und der Variant vom Jahr 1962).  In den letzten Jahren der ersten Generation des Volkswagen Typ 2 Buses (“T1 vom Volkswagen Typ 2”) stiegen die Umsätze nicht wesentlich an.

Annual sales of Volkswagen’s “light truck” continued to climb to 49,907 worldwide in 1955, 62,500 in 1956, 91,993 in 1957, 105,562 in 1958, 129,836 in 1959, 151,218 in 1960, 168,600 in 1961 and 180,337 in 1962.  The Volkswagen Transporter or bus used a rear-mounted, air-cooled, “boxer” motor with a displacement of 1,131 cubic centimeters (ccm) in 1949, 1,192 cubic centimeters (ccm) in 1954 and 1,493 cubic centimeters (ccm) by 1963.  The rear cargo door was also widened in 1963.  Vehicles manufactured in between 1949 and 1967 represented the first generation of the Volkswagen Transporter, and are often referred to as the “Microbus” or as the “Samba” in the English-speaking world.  Annual global sales increased to 189,294 vehicles in 1963, to 200,325 in 1964, and then leveled off to 189,876 in 1965, 191,373 in 1966 and 145,218 in 1967.

Im Jahre 1963 wurden weltweit 189,294 VW-Busse verkauft, im folgenden Jahr 1964 stieg die Zahl auf 200,325, im Jahr danach, in 1965, jedoch fielen Verkaufe auf nur noch 189,876 Fahrzeuge.  1966 sah eine Leichte Zunahme indem 191,373 Exemplare vom Volkswagen Typ 2 weltweit Käufer fanden.  Im Wendejahr 1967, von der ersten zu der zweiten Generation des Wagens, konnten nur 145,218 Umsätze erreicht werden.  Der VW Bus der zweiten Generation war auf jeden Fall moderner und auch praktischer, mit einer größerer Windschutzscheibe (“Bay Window” auf englisch, oder “Buchtfenster” auf deutsch).  Von 1967 bis 1970 (in Nordamerika von 1968 bis 1971) wurde der Bus mit einem größeren 1,584 quadratzentimeter Heckmotor vom Typ Eins der Käfer Limousine ausgerüstet.  Die Höchstgeschwindigkeit des neuen “T2” (zweite Generation), Typ Zwei VW-Bus lag bei 110 Stundenkilometer.  Die zweite Generation Fahrzeuge sind so beliebt und erfolgreich, daß sie heute noch immer bei Volkswagen in Brasilien vom Band fließen.  Die neuen Kombis aus Brasilien sind fortgeschrittener, mit kleineren (jedoch stärkeren und sauberen) wassergekühlten (statt luftgekühlten) Heckmotoren ausgestattet.  Die neuen Linienzylindermotoren aus Brasilien laufen entweder auf Benzin oder auch auf Zucker-Alkohol.  Brasilien hat die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika als das nun größte Agrarland der Welt übernommen.  DieUSAsind seit mehreren Jahren ein Einfuhrland für Nahrungsmittel.  Die ehemalige mächtige amerikanische Landwirtschaft leidet unter den sogenannten “Umweltschutzgesetzten.”

1968 marked the introduction of the second generation of the Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter, or bus.  It also marked the introduction of a good number of safety-inspired improvements to Volkswagen passenger cars, such as stronger bumpers and front seat head restraints.  The second generation Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter or bus is often called the “Bay Window” bus in the English-speaking world, so named because of its large one-piece windshield.  The 1968 Transporter received a 1,584 cubic centimeter (ccm) rear-mounted, air-cooled “boxer” engine which gave the VW bus a top speed of 68 miles per hour.  This vehicle was (and is) so popular, that it continues in production to this very day in Brazil, which is the home of the largest Volkswagen subsidiary in the entire world outside of Volkswagen’s native Germany.  The modern “Bay Window” bus as manufactured inBraziltoday is of course far more technically advanced compared to the first such vehicle introduced back in 1968.  Engine displacement has gone down, but performance (speed, acceleration and fuel economy) have all improved.  Furthermore, all Volkswagen vehicles built inBraziltoday can either run on gasoline or ethanol.  Ethanol inBrazilis manufactured from sugar cane alcohol, and is used in roughly one-half of the vehicles now running all overBrazil. Brazilis actually the largest global exporter of both ethanol and all other agricultural products, having recently surpassed theUnited States of America.

Sales of the second generation Type 2 Volkswagen “Bay Window” Transporter increased to 192,637 vehicles worldwide in 1968, a record 227,009 in 1969, 240,066 in 1970 and 255,121 in 1971.  In 1972, the Transporter received an entirely new rear-mounted, air-cooled “boxer” engine.  Such a change was inevitable, because a changing world meant that the Volkswagen bus would require more power.  Between 1949 and 1971, the Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter used a Type 1 Volkswagen “Beetle” engine.  In 1972, the move was made to a Type 4 Volkswagen engine.

Die zweite Generation (“T2”) vom Typ Zwei Volkswagen Bus war noch erfolgreicher als die erste Generation (“T1”).  Im Jahre 1968 wurden weltweit 192,637 Fahrzeuge verkauft, und im Jahr danach waren es 227,009 Wagen, ein neuer Rekord.  1970 fanden 240,066 VW-Busse Käufer und im Jahre 1971 wurden die bisherigen Verkaufzahlen übertroffen indem der Umsatz auf 255,121 stieg.  1971 (1972 in Nordamerika) wurde der Typ 2 Volkswagen Bus mit einem neuen Motor ausgestattet, nämlich den Motor des VW Typ 4 (411 Limousine, Variant und VW-Porsche 914 Sportwagen).  Der Typ 4 Motor war der bis dahin größte Volkswagen Motor (1,679 Quadratzentimeter mit einer Leistung von 85 PS).  Zwischen 1963 und 1966 wurde der Typ 4 Motor in den letzten Sportwagen der Klaße Porsche 356 (1948 bis 1966) verwendet.  Der Prototyp der Volkswagen Typ 4 411 Limousine (Stufenheck) stammt aus dem Jahre 1966 und ist heute im Automuseum Wolfsburg zu sehen.  Im Modelljahr 1969 wurden die Produktion Volkswagen 411 zwei-und viertürige Limousinen eingeführt, und im Modelljahr darauf, in 1970, wurde der dann beliebte Volkswagen 411 Variant auf den Markt gebracht.  Und 1971 waren die großen Volkswagen der 411 Klaße in Nordamerika erhältlich.  Insgesamt wurden mehr als 500,000 VW-Personenkraftwagen (Modell 411 und 412 sowie Porsche 914 und 916) und 2,1 Millionen VW-Lastkraftwagen (Typ 2 Bus) mit dem Typ 4 Motor weltweit verkauft.  Der neue Volkswagen Bus (mit Typ 4 Motor) hatte eine Höchstgeschwindigkeit von 117 Stundenkilometer.  1972 wurden weltweit 237,637 VW-Busse verkauft, im Jahr danach in 1973 kam es zu 253,099 Neulieferungen.  Im Jahre 1973 (1974 in Nordamerika) bekam der Typ 2 Bus den noch größeren 1,795 Quadratzentimeter Heckmotor der Typ 4 Volkswagen 412 (Nasenbär) Limousine.  Die maximale Geschwindigkeit des VW-Busses erreichte 122 Kilometer in der Stunde.

The Type 4 Volkswagen engine used technology gained from Porsche.  Later models of the Porsche 356 Coupé used such an engine immediately before 1964 (the Porsche 356 was produced and sold new from from 1948 until early 1966), and this engine type was also used to power the Porsche 912 Coupé and the so-called Volkswagen-Porsche 914 and 916 Roadsters.  At Volkswagen itself, the new, larger and more complicated engine (complete with fuel injection) was used to power the new range of Type 4 passenger cars – the 411 4-door Sedan, the 411 2-door Sedan and the 411 Station Wagon.  The 411 was introduced in the 1969 model year inGermanyand in the 1971 model year inNorth America.  All told, more than 500,000 Volkswagen and Porsche passenger cars used this new engine – in addition to more than 2,1 million Type 2 Volkswagen Transporters.  In 1972, the new engine for the Volkswagen bus had a displacement of 1,679 cubic centimeters (ccm) and gave the vehicle a top speed of about 72 miles per hour.  Even more important than this was the corresponding increase in horsepower.

Sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter reached 237,637 units in 1972 and 253,099 in 1973.  An even larger 1,795 cubic centimeter (ccm) displacement Type 4 engine was introduced in 1974, which increased the top speed to 75 miles per hour – and with even more horsepower.  Worldwide sales reached 224,138 vehicles in 1974 and 211,237 in 1975.  A larger 1,971 cubic centimeter (ccm) displacement engine came in 1976.  This 2-liter engine was to be used in the VW bus until the introduction of a water-cooled boxer motor in 1983.

Im Jahre 1974 wurden weltweit insgesamt 224,138 Volkswagen Busse verkauft, und im folgenden Jahr 1975 aber fiel der Umsatz auf 211,237 Einheiten.  Im Jahre 1975 (1976 in Nordamerika) bekam der Typ 2 Volkswagen Bus einen größeren 1,971 Quadratzentimeter Heckmotor.  Im Jahre 1979 (1980 in Nordamerika) wurde die dritte Generation (“T3) des Typ 2 Volkswagen Bus eingeführt.  In Nordamerika hieß der Wagen “Vanagon” (“Kleinbus-Variant” auf deutsch), in Großbrittanien hieß er “Wedge” (“Keil” auf deutsch) und in Südafrika (wo das Fahrzeug in der Volkswagenfabrik Uitenhage vom Band fließ) hieß der Wagen auf Afrikaans (Kapholländisch) “Volksie Bus.”  Im Jahre 1982 (1983 in Nordamerika) wurde der neue Wasserboxermotor eingeführt.  Der neue Heckmotor des VW-Bus war sauberer und auch leiser.  Im Jahre 1985 (1986 in Nordamerika) war die Größe des neuen Wasserboxers schon 2,1 Liter.  In Südafrika bekam die dritte Generation (“T3”) des Typ 2 Volkswagen Bus einen Audi-stammenden Linienfünfzylindermotor, und in Lateinamerika (die Volkswagenfabriken in Brasilien und auch in Mexiko) bekam der immer noch zweiten Generation (“T2”) des Typ 2 Volkswagen Bus einen Linienvierzylindermotor.  Die Größe des Motors des “Volksie Bus” aus Uitenhage, Südafrika lag bei 2,3 und 2,5 Liter, und die Höchstgeschwindigkeit des Busses erreichte 162 Stundenkilometer.  Seit 1949 haben weltweit mehr als 10 Millionen Volkswagen Busse das Gleiche Fahrgestell geteilt.

The third generation of the Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter came in 1980, and was known as the “Vanagon” in both theUnited StatesandCanada.  People in theUnited Kingdomnicknamed it the “Wedge” due to its new type of exterior styling.  Nevertheless, the Vanagon continued to use the same chassis (platform) as that introduced all the way back in 1949.  The Vanagon was manufactured inGermanyuntil 1992 and in the Uitenhage factory of Volkswagen of South Africa for ten years after that.  In 1983, a so-called “water boxer” engine was introduced.  This was done to lower exhaust emissions and to reduce engine noise.  It also resulted in a welcome increase in horsepower, acceleration and top speed.  By 1986, the size of the rear-mounted water-boxer reached a displacement of 2,1 liters.  InSouth Africa, they eventually adopted a 5-cylinder (in-line) Audi engine to fit their third generation Type 2 Volkswagen Transporter, which gave their VW bus a top speed of well over 100 miles per hour.  At Volkswagen of Mexico, a 4-cylinder (in-line) engine was adopted for their second generation Volkswagen “Bay Window” Transporter – a similar engine which is used to this very day by Volkswagen of Brazil (in either gasoline or grain-alcohol ethanol versions).

All told, more than 10 million Volkswagen Transporters have been sold on the same chassis (one single platform) since 1949.  This is yet another amazing commercial success from the good people inWolfsburg.  But of course, the story does not end there – and neither does the financial success.  In 1993, a fourth generation Volkswagen Transporter was introduced inGermany.  InNorth America, this new bus was known as the “Eurovan.”  It featured a water-cooled, in-line cylinder engine up front, directly over the drive wheels.  The Eurovan was manufactured inGermanyuntil the 2003 model year, but continues to come off the assembly line in Volkswagen’sPuebla,Mexicofactory.  2004 marked the introduction of the fifth generation of Volkswagen Transporters inGermany, known as the “Multivan” inEuropeand the rest of the world.  The Multivan was never introduced to the American market.  In theUnited StatesandCanada, Volkswagen decided to introduce the “Touareg” luxury sport utility vehicle.  Whereas most Volkswagen Transporters are manufactured inHanover,Germany, the Touareg SUV is built inBratislava(“Pressburg” in German),Slovakia.  The Volkswagen Touareg uses the same platform as does the Porsche Cayenne SUV and the Audi Q7 SUV.

Die vierte Generation (“T4”) des Volkswagen Busses wurde im Jahre 1991 (ab 1993 in Nordamerika als der “Eurovan” bekannt) eingeführt.  Die vierte Generation war völlig neu, mit dem neuentwickelten wassergekühlten Linienzylindermotor vorne, nahe den Triebrädern gegenüber.  Die vierte Generation wurde bis 2003 in Hannover hergestellt, und fließt noch inPuebla, Mexiko vom Band.  Im Jahre 2004 wurde die fünfte Generation (“T5”) des legendären Volkswagen Busses eingeführt, der “Multivan” heißt.  Der Multivan kam nie nach Nordamerika.  In den Vereinigten Staaten und Kanada wurde der “Touareg,” ein Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) eingeführt.  Der Touareg, sowie der Porsche Cayenne und der Audi Q7 teilen das gleiche Fahrgestell und fließen in Preßburg (Slowakei) vom Band.  Heute verkauft die Gruppe Volkswagen jährlich mehr als 761,000 Lastkraftwagen weltweit.  Die zweite Generation (“T2”) vom Typ 2 Volkswagen Bus wird noch in Brasilien produziert, und die vierte Generation (“T4”) vom Volkswagen Bus fließt noch inPuebla, Mexiko vom Band.  Die heutige, fünfte Generation (“T5”) des Volkswagen Busses wird inHannoverproduziert und wie erwähnt kommt der Touareg SUV Wagen aus Preßburg in der Slowakei.  Der kleine Pritschenwagen “Saveiro” kommt aus Brasilien und der “Pointer” aus Mexiko.  Der kleine “CrossFox,” auch ein SUV, kommt auch aus Brasilien und Mexiko.  Der kleine “Tiguan,” auch ein SUV, kommt aus Deutschland, und ist nun auch in Nordamerika erhältlich.  Der neue “Routan” Kleinbus wird inWindsor,Ontario(Kanada) hergestellt, und ist nur in den Vereinigten Staaten und Kanada erhältlich.  Der “Touran” Kleinbus wird auf dem VW-Golf Fahrgestell hergestellt, und kommt aus Deutschland (er ist nicht in Nordamerika lieferbar).

Today, the Volkswagen Group sells more than 761,000 light, medium and heavy trucks worldwide in a single year.  The second generation Type 2 Volkswagen “Bay Window” Transporter continues to roll off the assembly line inBraziland the fourth generation Volkswagen Eurovan is still available brand new inMexico.  The fifth generation Multivan is built in Volkswagen’s nativeGermany(at the VW Transporter factory inHanover), while the new Touareg SUV comes fromSlovakia.  Small Volkswagen pickup trucks are built in bothBrazilandMexico.  A small SUV by the name of the Volkswagen “CrossFox” is also available.  The small Volkswagen “Tiguan” SUV was recently introduced to the market in North America (theUnited StatesandCanada).  The Volkswagen “Routan” minivan has also been introduced to the North American market, and it is manufactured inWindsor,Ontario(Canada).  A small minivan by the name of the Volkswagen “Touran” is available inGermanyand in many other countries (it is based upon the Volkswagen Golf hatchback platform).  Volkswagen builds a medium truck known as the LT (Light Transporter) inGermany, which has been on the European market since 1975.  A new range of medium trucks under the Volkswagen “Crafter” nameplate is now available in much of the world outside ofNorth Americaas well.  Large commercial (“big rig”) trucks are built inBrazilunder the Volkswagen brand name (formerly known as “Caminhoes”), and are exported all over Latin America andEurope.  In addition to this, Volkswagen now owns the large commercial truck brands of MAN fromGermany, ERF from theUnited Kingdomand Scania fromSweden.  Scania, A.B. was founded in 1891 and ERF in 1933.  MAN, S.E. of Germany was originally based in the two Bavarian cities ofAugsburgandNurembergin Southern Germany, and is now based in the Bavarian state capital ofMunich.  The company was founded as the St. Antony Ironworks inOberhausen,Germany(in the famous industrialRuhrregion) in 1758, thus making it one of the oldest members of the Volkswagen Group of companies.  MAN has 51,300 employees, and has also owned Steyr Nutzfahrzeuge, A.G. since 1991.  The latter firm was formerly known as Steyr-Daimler-Puch, A.G. – they were broken up in 1990.  Steyr’s automobile division combined with Magna of Canada to become Magna-Steyr, which is now a major equity holder in what used to be General Motors Europe (Adam Opel ofGermanyand Vauxhall of theUnited Kingdom).

Die Gruppe Volkswagen verkauft erfolgreich nicht nur Lastkraftwagen der Klein-und Mittelklaßen, sondern auch große Lastkraftwagen.  Der VW Leichttransporter (“LT”) wurde im Jahre 1975 eingeführt, ist aber in Nordamerika nicht erhältlich.  Der LT ist wesentlich größer als der Multivan.  Ein neuer LKW der Mittelklaße ist der Volkswagen Crafter, der auch nicht in Nordamerika verkauft wird.  Große LKWs der Marke Volkswagen werden in Brasilien hergestellt, und in Lateinamerika und Europa verkauft.  Vormals hieß diese VW LKW-Tochterfirma in Brasilien “Caminhoes,” eine ehemalige Chrylser Firma.  Inzwischen hat Volkswagen, A.G. auch MAN, A.G. aus Bayern und Scania aus Schweden gekauft – auch diese große Fahrzeuge werden nicht in Nordamerika veräußert.  MAN kommt ausAugsburgund Nürnberg in Bayern, ist aber heute in München hauptquartiert.  Die Stammfirma von MAN (die Sankt Anton Eisenwerke) wurde im Jahre 1758 imOberhausenin der Ruhr gegründet, und ist dadurch das älteste gesellschaftliche Mitglied der Gruppe Volkswagen.  MAN aus Bayern besitzt auch ERF aus Großbrittanien, die im Jahre 1933 gegründet wurde.  Scania, A.B. aus Schweden wurde im Jahre 1891 gegründet, und besaß vormals Saab.  Saab wurde von Scania an General Motors verkauft, und gehört jetzt Königsegg (eine schwedische Sportwagenfirma) verkauft.  Insgesamt wurden seit 1949 mehr als 20,8 Millionen Lastkraftwagen aller Klaßen der Gruppe Volkswagen weltweit verkauft.  Dadurch ist die bekannte deutsche Firma aus Wolfsburg-Fallersleben in Niedersachen nach Ford Motor Company in Amerika die zweitgrößte LKW Firma der Welt.  Ford hat insgesamt 32 Millionen LKWs weltweit abgesetzt (und mußte finanzielle Verluste einbüßen), während Volkswagen finanzielle Verdienste buchen konnte.

All told, more than 20,8 million Volkswagen trucks have been built and sold since 1949, making Volkswagen the second largest heavy, medium and light truck manufacturer in the history of the world, immediately behind the Ford Motor Company of the USA (Ford being number one in trucks due to the popularity of its “F Series” line of trucks, introduced in 1948 and with 32 million cumulative sales to date).

Medium-Sized Passenger Cars

Volkswagen began as an idea for an affordable small economy car, which became the greatest success in the history of the automotive world.  And although Volkswagen was not born with the idea to be a truck company, they have become the second most prolific truck manufacturer in the history of the world.  The idea for a Volkswagen passenger car somewhat larger than the Volkswagen Beetle (a “bigger brother” for the Beetle) was born as early as 1957.  Prototypes were built in between 1957 and 1959, and during the latter two years with the help of Porsche, A.G. of Stuttgart, Germany – a common theme of Volkswagen and Porsche working together for their mutual benefit.

Volkswagen entstand als eine Firma, die preisgünstige Kraftwagen verkaufte, und sich bald zu einer der erfolgreichsten Firmen der Autoindustrie emporarbeitete.  Und obwohl Volkswagen als Hersteller keiner Lastwagen gegründet wurde, liegt Volkswagen heutzutage auf Platz zwei unter den LKW Herstellern.  In den fünfziger Jahren glaubte Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff, daß VW einen Personenkraftwagen brauchte, der etwas größer als die Käfer Limousine war.  Zwischen 1957 und 1959 entwickelte Volkswagen und Porsche drei Prototypen – die technischen Ahnen der Volkswagen Typ 3 Stufenheck Limousine sowie der Fließheck Limousine.  Im Jahre 1960 entwickelte Volkswagen selbst 12 Produktionsprototypen der Typ 3 Stufenheck Limousine.  Der Typ 3 wurde mit einem bis dahin größten Volkswagenmotor, nämlich 1,493 Quadratzentimeter, versehen.  Dieser luftgekühlte Heckmotor war verhältnismäßig flach konstruiert, der sogenannte “Pfankuchenmotor.”  Und diese Bauart ermöglichte es den beiden Limousinen, Stufenheck und Fließheck, je zwei Kofferräume zu geben, einen vorne unter der Haube, und einen zweiten hinten über dem Motor.  1961 wurde der Typ 3 Stufenheck (“Notchback” in Kanada benannt, nie offiziell aber immer noch beliebt in den Vereinigten Staaten) eingeführt.  Im Jahre 1962 wurde der Typ 3 Variant eingeführt (1966 in den Vereinigten Staaten, “Squareback” genannt).  Und auch im Jahre 1962 wurde der Typ 3, “große” Karmann-Ghia Coupé 1600, eingeführt.  Dieser Typ, wie auch die Stufenheck Limousine, war in Europa und auch in Kanada erhältlich, aber nicht offiziell in denUSA.  Beide Wagen sind heute immer noch bei VW-Liebhaber in den Vereinigten Staaten sehr gefragt, und finden ihren Weg nach da durch den “grauen Markt.”  Die Fließheck Limousine Typ 3 war eventuell im Jahre 1964 eingeführt (ab 1966 als “Fastback” in Nordamerika bekannt).

In 1960, twelve pre-production Volkswagen 1600 Notchback Sedans were introduced to the world.  This range of cars is known as the Volkswagen Type 3, with Volkswagen Type 1 denoting the Volkswagen Beetle range and Volkswagen Type 2 denoting the Volkswagen Transporter range of vehicles.  The Type 3 was equipped with the largest and most powerful Volkswagen engine to date – a rear-mounted, air-cooled, 1,493 cubic centimeter (ccm) displacement “pancake” boxer motor.  The Type 3 engine was heavily based upon the Type 1 engine, but made much flatter, thus the description of being a “pancake” motor.  This gave the Type 3 Notchback Sedan and the Type 3 Fastback Sedan which followed in 1964 two trunks, one in the front and another one in the rear of the car immediately above the rear-mounted engine.  A Type 3 Station Wagon (called the “Squareback” inNorth America) was introduced to the market in 1962, along with a sports car made by Karmann-Ghia.  This Type 3 Karmann-Ghia was larger than the Type 1 Karmann-Ghia (the latter being based upon the Type 1 “Beetle” chassis), and was nicknamed the “razor edge” Karmann-Ghia due to its unique styling.  From a distance, it has a good deal in common with the Chevrolet Corvair.  Volkswagen of Brazil even introduced a Type 3 “Touring Coupé” Karmann-Ghia, which used fastback styling – about 18,000 were made.  Later, Volkswagen of Brazil made a Type 3 “Sport Coupé,” of which just over 10,000 were produced.  These cars are highly collectible today.

Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen Type 3 series of cars took off to 10,663 units in 1961, 128,083 in 1962, 181,809 in 1963, 262,020 in 1964, 261,915 in 1965 and a record 378,949 new cars in 1966.  Sales leveled off thereafter, but a new face-lifted version was introduced to the market in 1970.  It gave the Type 3 a more modern appearance, and somewhat more luggage space as well.  Unique versions of the Type 3 were also manufactured by Volkswagen inBrazilandAustralia.  The Type 3 was withdrawn from the North American market after the 1973 model year to make way for the next generation of water-cooled Volkswagen cars, namely the Volkswagen Dasher line of sedans and station wagons.  Type 3 production continued inAustraliauntil 1974 and inBraziluntil 1982.  Worldwide, more than 4 million Type 3 Volkswagen passenger cars were built with engines as large as 1,6 and 1,7 liters in displacement.

In Großbrittanien und Nordamerika heißt der große Typ 3 Karmann-Ghia Coupé auch “Razor Edge Ghia,” sogenannt nach der Bauweise der Karosserie.  In Brasilien gab es einen Typ 3 Karmann-Ghia TC (“Touring Coupé”) mit Fließheck, sowie einen Typ 3 SC (“Sport Coupé”).  Nur 18,000 von den Karmann-Ghia TC und 10,000 von den Typ 3 SC wurden hergestellt.  Im Jahre 1961 wurden weltweit 10,633 Volkswagen Typ 3 verkauft, im Jahre 1962 wurden es 128,083 Einheiten, im Jahre 1963 181,809 Fahrzeuge, im Jahre 1964 261,915 Autos und endlich im Jahre 1965 erreichte es einen Rekord Umsatz von 378,949 Modelle des großen neuen Volkswagen.  Im Jahre 1969 (1970 in Nordamerika) wurde die Produktion vom großen Typ 3 Karmann-Ghia Coupé eingestellt.  Die anderen Modelle der Typ 3 Klaße (Stufenheck Limousine, Variant, sowie Fließheck Limousine) wurden äußerlich ein bischen modernisiert.  Im Jahre 1973 wurden die Typ 3 Modelle in Europa und Nordamerika eingestellt, in Australien war das der Fall in 1974, und in Brasilien in 1982.  Inzwischen wurden weltweit mehr als vier Millionen Exemplare des Volkswagen Typ 3 hergestellt.  Im Jahre 1973 (1974 in Nordamerika) wurde der Typ 3 Nachfolger “Passat” (“Dasher” in Nordamerika) eingeführt.  Er war auf den Audi 80 basiert.  Im Jahre 1981 (1982 in Nordamerika) wurde die zweite Generation des Volkswagen Passat eingeführt.  Er hieß “Quantum” in Nordamerika, “Corsar” in Mexiko, und “Santana” in Brasilien undChina.  Die Nachfrage ist so groß, daß der Wagen heute noch in Brasilien undChinavom Band rollt.

The Volkswagen Dasher (introduced to the German market as the first generation Volkswagen Passat in 1973) was to become even more successful in the marketplace than the Volkswagen Type 3.  A second generation was introduced as the Volkswagen Quantum in North America, the Volkswagen Santana in South America and Asia and as the Volkswagen Corsar inMexico.  The second generation Passat was (and is) so popular that it remains in production to this day as the Volkswagen Santana in bothBraziland MainlandChina.  The Volkswagen Passat (and its Czech-made counterpart the Skoda Superb) is now in its sixth generation, and has matured into a very nice and luxurious medium-sized passenger car in sedan, four-door coupé (the “CC”), station wagon and even minivan (the Volkswagen Sharan and the SEATAlhambra) versions.  More than 15 million Volkswagen Passats have been sold worldwide to date.  Including the Volkswagen Type 3, more than 33,6 million mid-sized Volkswagen Group cars have been sold since 1960 under the Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Skoda nameplates.  The original Volkswagen Dasher of 1973 was based upon the Audi 80 / Audi Fox platform.  The current range of the Audi A4 and the Audi A6 ride on the same platform as does the Volkswagen Passat.

Der Volkswagen Passat ist nun in seiner sechsten Generation, und wird auch Tschechien als der Skoda Superb hergestellt.  Das Passat Fahrgestell wird im Passat selbst und den folgenden Modellen verwendet; VW-Passat CC Coupé, VW-Eos Cabriolet, VW-Sharan Minivan, SEAT Alhambra Minivan, Ford Galaxie Minivan, Skoda Superb, Audi A4, und Audi A6.  Seit 1973 wurden mehr als 15 Millionen Volkswagen Passats verkauft, und insgesamt 28,7 Millionen Fahrzeuge mit dem Passat Fahrgestell.  Die Gruppe Volkswagen ist jetzt auch der erfolgreichste Luxuswagenhersteller der Welt.  Die Markengruppe Audi (Audi, Lamborghini und SEAT) ist die beliebste Luxuswagenmarke der Welt, gefolgt von BMW-Mini, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz, Maybach und Smartcar), Lexus (Toyota), Infiniti (RenaultNissan), Cadillac (General Motors) und auch Lincoln (Ford Motor Company).  Der große Volkswagen entwickelte sich vom Typ 4, dem 411 Stufenheck Limousine Prototyp aus dem Jahre 1966, und dem 411 Fließheck Limousine Prototyp von 1967 und 1968 (viertürig in 1967 und zweitürig in 1968), und aus dem Produktions-Typ 4, 411 im Jahre 1969.  Der Volkswagen 412 von 1972 bis 1975 war eigentlich ein äußerlich modernisierter VW 411 aber mit größeren Heckmotor (1,795 Quadratzentimeter anstelle von 1,679 Quadratzentimeter).

Volkswagen Luxury Cars

Many people scoff at the idea of a “Volkswagen luxury car,” because VW made its name as a small, affordable and very economical “peoples’ car.”  But today, the Volkswagen Group is also the number one luxury car manufacturer on the planet.  The Audi Division (which owns the active brands of Audi of Germany, SEAT ofSpainand Lamborghini of Italy) is the most prolific and thus popular seller of luxury cars on earth.  They have surpassed number two BMW-Mini ofGermanyand number three Mercedes-Benz / Maybach of Germany to hold the top position in the global luxury car field.

Volkswagen made their very first prototype Type 4 411 luxury car back in 1966.  It was a curious looking Notchback sedan, and can be seen in theVolkswagenMuseuminWolfsburgtoday.  Two prototypes of a Type 4 411 Fastback sedan followed in 1967 and in 1968, respectively (first a four-door and then a two-door version).  The production Volkswagen Type 4 was introduced to the German market in 1969, and toNorth Americain 1971.  Many people made fun of the 411, and said things like “it was VW’s very first 4-door passenger car, which came eleven years too late!”  They also poked fun at its styling, and nicknamed it the “Näsenbär” in German (“anteater” in English).  A new facelifted version named the Volkswagen 412 was introduced in 1973, but this did not last long either – production of the Volkswagen Type 4 ceased in early 1975 after just over 365,000 examples had been built and sold worldwide (largely in Europe, North America, New Zealand and South Africa).  As far as price was concerned, the Volkswagen Type 4 was on the same level as the BMW 2002Sedan.  People felt that this was too expensive, but from the standpoint of build quality the Volkswagen was likely a better car.  It had less performance (specifically speed and acceleration), but Volkswagen would not repeat that particular “error” in the future.  The Volkswagen-Porsche 914 and 916 Roadsters (which also used the 1,679 and the 1,795 cubic centimeter-displacement Type 4 engines) were discontinued in 1975 after about 115,000 examples had been sold worldwide.  The Porsche 912 Coupé (which also used the Type 4 engine) was discontinued in 1976 after just over 30,000 units had been sold.  People made fun of the 912 as well, calling it a “Mickey Mouse” Porsche due to its less-powerful engine and lesser performance (speed and acceleration) compared to the far more popular and enduring Porsche 911 range.  Nevertheless, these were all very high-quality cars, and they are loved by a few enthusiasts.

Bis 1975 wurden mehr als 365,000 Exemplare vom Volkswagen Typ 4 (411 und 412) verkauft, hauptsächlich in Westeuropa, Nordamerika, Südafrika, Neuseeland und Südostasien.  Bis 1975 wurden 115,000 Einheiten vom VW-Porsche Typ 4 (914 und 916 Cabriolet) hergestellt, und bis 1976 wurden etwa 30,000 Exemplare vom Porsche Typ 4 (912 Coupé) weltweit verkauft.  Obwohl die Personenkraftwagen der Typ 4 Klaße nicht so erfolgreich wie zum Beispiel die der Typ 3 Klaße waren, war die Qualität immer noch sehr hoch.  Wie erwähnt, war der Volkswagen Passat noch erfolgreicher als der Volkswagen Typ 3.  Die Marke NSU (Audi-NSU) wurde im Jahre 1977 eingestellt, als der NSU Ro80 (mit Wankelmotor) eingestellt wurde.  Die großen Erfolge von Audi waren Audi Modelle 60, Audi 72, Audi 80 (“Fox” in Nordamerika), Audi Super 90 und besonders der Audi 100.  Die neuen Limousinen von Audi waren die technischen Nachfolger der DKW F102 Limousine von 1963 bis 1966.  Nach der Audi 100 Limousine (Audi 4000 in Nordamerika) gab es auch die noch größere und mehr luxuriöse Audi 200 Limousine (Audi 5000 in Nordamerika).

Volkswagen had better commercial success in the luxury car field after 1976 by moving the Volkswagen Dasher / Volkswagen Passat line more “up market,” and of course with the Audi-NSU Division.  The NSU brand name was phased out in 1977, after the unique NSU Ro80 Wankel (rotary) engineSedanwas discontinued.  This was also a good car technically and in terms of styling, but the company did not perfect the rotary engine before bringing the car to market – which hurt the car’s reputation for quality and reliability.

Audi had tremendous success with the Audi 60, the Audi 72, the Audi 80 / Fox, the Audi Super 90 and most especially with the Audi 100 series.  These cars were technical successors to the DKW F102 Sedan of 1963 to 1966, and were greatly improved by talented engineers such as Dr. Ferdinand Piëch.  Later, Audi was to go even more “up market” with the luxurious Audi 200 (known as the Audi 5000 inNorth America).  Today, the Audi counterparts to the Volkswagen Passat are the Audi A4 and the Audi A6 series.

Die heutigen Nachfolger der Audi 100 und Audi 200 Limousinen sind die Audi A4 und Audi A6 Limousinen.  Seit 1988 hat die Gruppe Volkswagen mit der Audi V8 Limousine auch einen Luxuswagen der Weltklaße, der gegen Mercedes-Benz und BMW total konkurrenzfähig ist.  Von 1994 bis 1998 war die Audi A8 Limousine der neue Nachfolger der Audi V8 Limousine, und seit 1998 ist die Audi S8 Limousine das heutige PKW-Flaggschiff der Gruppe Volkswagen.  Die Volkswagen Phaeton Limousine, die Bentley Continental GT Limousine (seit 2004) und die Bentley Continental Flying Spur Limousine (seit 2005) sind alle mit dem Audi S8 Fahrgestell ausgestattet.  Die Gruppe Volkswagen besitzt auch die bekannten Luxusmarken Lamborghini aus Italien und Bugatti aus Elsaß.  Der Sportwagenhersteller Lamborghini wurde im Jahre 1963 gegründet und wurde im Jahre 1998 von Volkswagen gekauft.  Der Luxuswagenhersteller Bugatti wurde im Jahre 1909 gegründet und wurde auch im Jahre 1998 von Volkswagen gekauft.  Bugatti verkauft die teuersten Luxuswagen der Welt – zum Beispiel das Bugatti Veyron Coupé.  Jetzt kann man deutlich sehen, wie die Gruppe Volkswagen alle Art von Fahrzeugen erfolgreich weltweit verkauft – von dem kleinen Käfer für das Volk bis zur luxuriösen Volkswagen Phaeton Limousine; von dem Typ 2 “Bulli” Kastenwagen bis zu den großen LKWs von Volkswagen do Brasil, MAN und Scania.

The Volkswagen Group really went all-out into the luxury car field in 1988, when they introduced the Audi V8 Sedan.  The Audi V8 was succeeded by the even more advanced and luxurious Audi A8 in 1994, which was finally introduced to the North American market in 1997.  The Audi S8 was introduced to the world in 1998, and Volkswagen followed with its own counterpart Volkswagen Phaeton Sedan in 2002.  The VW Phaeton will be re-introduced to the North American market in the very near future.  This is a truly world-class luxurySedan, technically identical to the Audi S8, the Bentley Continental GT (introduced in 2004) and the top-of-the-line Bentley Continental Flying Spur (introduced in 2005).

The Most Exclusive Motor Cars

The most expensive and exclusive Volkswagen Group brands go beyond the Volkswagen Phaeton, the Audi S8 and the Bentley range of luxury cars.  The most exclusive VW Group marques include Lamborghini of Italy (founded in 1963 and purchased by the Volkswagen Group in 1998) and Bugatti of theAlsaceregion inFrance(established in 1909 and also purchased by Volkswagen in 1998).  Lamborghini is famous for very high-performance sports cars, and Bugatti is famous for making the most exclusive (and expensive) production cars on earth.  The Bugatti Veyron sells fewer than 100 examples per year worldwide, and retails for about US $1,400,000.

Reasons for Success – or Failure

Why does Volkswagen succeed where so many others have failed and continue to fail?  Volkswagen has always been “driven” by engineering excellence and technology.  They have a commitment to manufacture and to service a high quality product, be it for the entry level (mass market), the middle market or for the high-end market.  Over the course of their history (up to the present day) many of their competitors laugh at them or make fun of them.  But they ignore this, and merely concentrate on their work.  As far as I am concerned, this speaks very highly for them, but not for so many of their peers.  After all, if one goes through life only putting other people down, this means that one has little or no respect for his or her fellow human beings.  That doesn’t speak highly for anyone who lives that way.

Warum ist Volkswagen, A.G. erfolgreicher im Verhältnis zu anderen Autoherstellern?  Bei Volkswagen waren und sind Ingenieurwesen und Technologie tonangebend und allerwichtig.  Und eine Verplichtung zu hoher Qualität spielt eine große Rolle.  Seit Jahren haben andere Autohersteller und die weltweite Presse keine besonders gute Meinung von Volkswagen gehabt.  Obwohl Scherze und Beleidigungen über Volkswagen immer noch gang und gäbe sind, fallen diese Beleidigungen bei Volkswagen auf meist tabe Ohren.  Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff bemerkte schon im Jahre 1959, daß der Erfolg des Volkswagenwerkes kein “Wunder” sei sondern ein Ergebnis harter und guter Arbeit ist, und das Wissen, wie man etwas richtig macht.

Furthermore, Volkswagen uses far few “gimmicks” than do other companies.  I believe that American automotive companies have gone so far down (they had 92 percent of the global market in 1947) because they have been obsessed with the external styling of their cars.  Then, American management made huge “concessions” to labor unions, paying out absolutely massive wages and benefits to employees, retirees and to their many dependents.  Total compensation for rank-and-file “blue collar” employees at General Motors in theUSAstands at an amazing US $78 per hour.  At Ford and Chrysler, the corresponding figure is US $60 per hour.  In its heyday, General Motors had 900,000 employees.  Today, they have something like 3 million people just in theUnited Statesreceiving retirement and medical benefits as former employees and their many dependents.  The massive and unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities of the “Big 3” American automakers runs in excess of US $140 billion – no different from a government program.

Im Jahre 1947 beherrschte die amerikanische Autoindustrie etwa 92 Prozent vom Weltmarkt.  Als die amerikanischen Autohersteller noch rentabel waren, gab deren Geschäftsführung den Vorderungen der Gewerkschaften nach in der Form von immer größeren Ansprüchen.  General Motors bezahlt ihren Arbeitnehmern heute etwa 78 Dollar in der Stunde, bei Ford und Chrysler kommt es auf etwa 60 Dollar die Stunde.  Vor 50 Jahren hatte General Motors eine weltweite Belegschaft von etwa 900,000 Angestellte, und heute unterhält die Firma etwa drei Millionen Rentner die monatlich bezahlt werden.  General Motors, Ford und Chrysler haben eine Gesamtverschuldung von fast 140 Milliarden Dollar (vorweglich Ruhegehälter und Gesundheitsversicherung).  Die Firmen sind bankrott.  Obwohl die drei Firmen im Ausland (besonders in Asien und Lateinamerika) noch verdienen, verändert sich das Bild für sie in Amerika kaum weil die finanzielle Lage dort außichtslos ist.  Die heutigen Verhältniße bei Adam Opel in Deutschland und Vauxhall in Großbrittanien sind zum großen Teil die Verschuldung der amerikanischen Geschäftsführung in Detroit – ohne General Motors in Detroit ginge es Adam Opel und Vauxhall wesentlich besser.

On top of this, the “Big 3” are in the habit of “subsidizing” their sales with “no money down” and “zero interest financing.”  This is profoundly frightening, because as a business this means that they are selling their finished products and services to consumers who in essence have no ability to pay for these products and services.  The balance sheets of the “Big 3” now resemble failing financial institutions much more than they do manufacturing companies.

General Motors and Ford actually have foreign operations which make decent money, especially in the booming Asia-Pacific region and inLatin America.  The very sad thing is that they are so overly-focused (obsessed) with their domestic American market that they often sacrifice profitable markets and profitable divisions just to further subsidize the American market.  It is sad to see what has happened to the Adam Opel Division of General Motors inGermanyand Europe (known as Opel is most markets and as Vauxhall in theUnited Kingdom).  They have good technology and smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, but they have been neglected and now face financial ruin.  I suppose one could say much the same thing for the Saab Division inSweden.  Another sad story is the Saturn Division in theUnited States, which used to be focused on smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.  Over many years, GM Divisions such as Little, Geo, McLaughlin,Pontiac,Oakland, Acadian, Oldsmobile, Viking, LaSalle,Bedfordand Wartburg have simply died.  Hopefully Holden of Australia will not be allowed to do likewise, and that Daewoo of South Korea and Wuling of China will flourish in the future under good management.

Die Geschäftsführung der amerikanischen Autoindustrie inDetroithat anscheinend nicht von ihren vergangenen Fehltritten gelernt.  Der General Motors Kraftwagen der Marke Saturn wurde anfangs auf dem Opel Fahrgestell gebaut…..bis General Motors größere Fahrzeuge herstellen wollte.  Saturn wurde eventuell an Penske verkauft.  Penske ist ein Autohändler aus Michigan, und besitzt auch eine Mietlastkraftwagenfirma.  Eine chinesische Industriefirma hat die Marke Hummer erworben, und die japanische Firma Toyota hat Isuzu und Fuji-Subaru von General Motors gekauft.  Suzuki ausJapanund Fiat aus Italien sind nun wieder unabhängig von General Motors.  Andere Marken der Gruppe General Motors sind ausgestorben, wie zum Beispiel Little und Geo (ehemals Chevrolet Marken), McLaughlin und Acadian aus Kanada, Oldsmobile und Viking (Mittelklaße Fahrzeuge ausDetroit), LaSalle (Luxuswagen ausDetroit) undBedfordLastkraftwagen aus Großbrittanien.  Pontiac, ein Personenkraftwagen der niedrigen Mittelklaße aus Oakland County, Michigan, wird bald die Produktion einstellen.  Die Verhältniße bei der Ford Motor Company inDearborn,Michigansind nicht viel anders.  Edsel, ein PKW der Mittelklaße aus Dearborn, und Merkur, ein Luxuswagen von den Fordwerken in Köln und hergestellt für den nordamerikanischen Markt, haben die Produktion auch eingestellt.  Mazda ausJapanund Aston-Martin Lagonda aus Großbrittanien sind wieder unabhänging von Ford.  Jaguar und Land-Rover aus Großbrittanien wurden an Tata Motors von Indien verkauft.  Volvo aus Schweden wird vielleicht bald an Geely ausChinaverkauft. Auch Chrysler, die drittgrößte amerikanische Autofirma, hat sich oft überhoben.  Die Chrysler Marken Imperial (Luxuswagen), DeSoto, Maxwell, Chalmers,Plymouthund Eagle sind nicht mehr.  Andere Verlierer der Gruppe Chrysler sind AMC (American Motors Corporation aus Kenosha in Wisconsin), Rambler, Nash, und Jeffrey (alle drei auch aus Kenosha), Hudson, Essex, Terraplane, Kaiser-Frazer, Henry J., Willys-Overland aus Ohio, Whippet, Allstate, Simca aus Frankreich, Rootes, Hillman, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam, Talbot, Commer und Karrier (alle ehemalige Marken der Gruppe Rootes aus Großbrittanien) und Barreiros (aus Spanien), sind auch ausgestorben.  Zur Zeit des Zweiten Weltkrieges hat Henry J. Kaiser die sogenannten “LibertyShiffe” für die amerikanische Handelsmarine gebaut.  Die ehemalige Firma Kaiser hat zahlreiche Hilfsflugzeugträger gebaut die der deutschen Unterseebootwaffe in den Jahren von 1943 und 1945 beträchtliche Verluste zugefugt hat.

The number of defunct brands at Chrysler far surpasses even that at General Motors and Ford.  One can think of Imperial (a great luxury brand of the past), DeSoto, Maxwell, Chalmers, Plymouth, Eagle, AMC, Rambler, Nash-Kelvinator, Jeffrey, Hudson, Essex, Terraplane, Kaiser-Frazer, Henry J, Willys-Overland, Whippet, Allstate, Simca (of France), Rootes (of the UK), Hillman (UK), Humber (UK), Singer (UK), Sunbeam (UK), Talbot (UK), Commer (UK), Karrier (UK) and Barreiros (of Spain).

Die japanische Autoindustrie verbucht jetzt auch finanzielle Verluste von außergewöhnlicher Größe und ist auf Unterstützung der japanischen Regierung angewiesen.  Unter den Verlierern finden wirToyota(mit den Marken Toyota, Toyopet, Isuzu, Fuji-Subaru, Daihatsu, Hino, Lexus und Scion), Nissan (mit den Marken Nissan, Nissan Diesel und Infiniti), Mitsubishi (mit den Marken Mitsubishi und Diamond Star), und Mazda.  Den Grund für die Verluste finden wir jetzt auf den zwei wichtigsten Absatzmärkten der japanischen Autoindustrie; Japan selbst und die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, beideleidenselbst unter schwer schwachen wirtschaftlichen Umständen.  Kraftwagenumsätze für neue Fahrzeuge in Japan sind seit 1989 um 82 Prozent gesunken, in den Vereinigten Staaten seit 1985 um 61 Prozent.  Die Japaner haben sich den Amerikanern in einigen Fällen gleichgestellt indem sie in Kalifornien entworfene größere Kraftwagen auf den amerikanischen Markt bringen.  Der größte Pritschenwagen von Toyota (“Tundra”), zum Beispiel, ist nicht wesentlich unterschiedlich im Aussehen vom großen Pritschenwagen von General Motors (Chevrolet “Silverado,” und GMC “Sierra”), oder Ford (“F-Serie,” F-150, F-250, F-350, F450, F-550 und F-650), und von Chrysler (die Dodge “Ram” Serie).

The major automakers ofJapanare also losing a great deal of money today, and are being “helped” financially by the government ofJapan.  The money losers includeToyota(which also owns the brands of Isuzu, Fuji-Subaru, Daihatsu, Hino, Lexus and Scion), Mitsubishi and Mazda.  Suzuki is still profitable, but not by very much.  Honda recently returned to profitability after having lost billions of Dollars.  The Japanese are hurting because their two largest retail markets (inJapanand in theUnited States) are in very bad shape.  Vehicle sales inJapanhave plummeted by 82 percent since the boom years which ended in 1989, and they are down by 61% since the American peak of 1985.  Furthermore, the Japanese car companies have mimicked much of what their American counterparts have done in the past.  In the beginning, the Japanese became successful by making cars which looked somewhat like much smaller versions of American cars in the 1960s, 1970s and even 1980s (the Japanese had joint ventures with European companies in the 1940s and 1950s, during which time they made many small cars which took major styling cues from the British and the French).  Then, they went all-out in the 1990s and 2000s by designing and manufacturing much larger vehicles.  These vehicles were designed in theUSAprimarily for the American market.  Finally, they have followed the American “lead” in financing their sales with deals including “no money down” and “zero interest” or below-market levels of debt financing for consumers.  Hence the now serious problem with financial losses, which does nothing to serve the legitimate interests of shareholders and creditors.

From what I can see, it looks like Hyundai-Kia ofSouth Koreamay be going in the exact same direction of their counterparts inJapan(by making much larger vehicles and by promoting them to the public with subsidies which hurt the bottom line of the company).

Kraftfahrzeughersteller Hyundai-Kia in Südkorea vertrieben nun auch größere Kraftfahrzeuge und konkurrieren stark mit den Japanern, allen voran mitToyota.  Aber die neuen Autohersteller inChina, Indien und Rußland werden in der nicht zu fernen Zukunft auch eine große Rolle spielen.  Die großen Kraftfahrzeughersteller in Europa, wie zum Beispiel Renault und Peugeot-Citroën in Frankreich, Fiat in Italien, sowie BMW-Mini und Daimler, A.G. (Mercedes-Benz) in Deutschland, werden von ihren betreffenden Regierungen finanziell unterstützt.  Die Gruppe Volkswagen in Niedersachsen könnte eine von wenigen Ausnahmen sein.

The “up and coming” car companies based in MainlandChina,IndiaandRussiaexperienced a 48% decline in net income in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of 2008.  It remains to be seen what transpires in the future.  I tend to believe that they will emerge from the current situation financially healthy, and that they will thrive in the future due to the fact that their economies are entering an historic long-term bull market (the exact opposite of the economic situation in theUnited Statesand in theUnited Kingdom).  They don’t have as much of a history in the automotive industry, so one cannot analyze them as easily as established companies from other countries.

The major independent automotive groups based in Europe (aside from Volkswagen-Porsche of Germany-Austria) are losing large sums of money much like their counterparts inJapan– and they are receiving taxpayer-funded “bailouts” from their respective national governments as well.  These include both Renault-Nissan and Peugeot-Citroën ofFrance, Fiat-Chrysler ofItaly, and both BMW-Mini and Daimler of Germany.

I believe that both the American companies of Paccar, Inc. (Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF and Leyland trucks) and Navistar-International (both of which make very large commercial trucks) are well-managed and financially healthy.  They are very different from most motor vehicle companies, because they sell in only one specialized market segment.  Some of the large car companies compete in this segment as well, including Volkswagen of Germany (Volkswagen, Scania, MAN and ERF trucks), Renault-Nissan of France (Volvo, Mack and Nissan Diesel trucks), Fiat-Chrysler of Italy (Iveco, Unic and Magirus trucks) and Daimler of Germany (Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Fuso, Thomas, Sterling, Western Star, Orion and Setra trucks).  Paccar is very profitable, whereas Navistar is losing a small amount of money – something which can still be corrected with good management.

Wie schon erwähnt, haben die drei amerikanischen Kraftfahrzeughersteller in Detroit,Michigan(General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company und Chrysler Corporation) finanzielle Schwierigkeiten die das weitere Bestehen der drei Firmen in Frage stellen.  Zwei amerikanische Lastkraftwagenhersteller, Paccar und Navistar-International, finden sich in besserer Lage.  Paccar, Inc., aus dem US-Bundesstaat Washington, mit den LKW-Marken Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF (aus Holland) und Leyland (aus England), ist finanziell verhältnismäßig solvent.  Navistar-International inIllinoisist finanziell etwas schwächer und wirtschaftet unter einem kleinen Defizit.  Einige internationale Hersteller und Verkäufer großer Lastkraftwagen sind zum Beispiel Volkswagen (mit den Marken VW, Scania, MAN und ERF), Renault-Nissan (mit den Marken Nissan Diesel, Mack und Volvo), Fiat-Chrysler (mit den Marken Iveco, Unic und Magirus-Deutz) sowie Daimler, A.G. aus Baden-Württemberg (mit den Marken Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Fuso, Thomas, Sterling, Western Star, Orion und Setra).  Aber im Großen und Ganzen kann man jedoch sagen, daß eine Fahrzeugfirma den meisten anderen voran liegt – Volkswagen A.G. inWolfsburg.  Der Erfolg des Unternehmens ist hauptsächlich der Verdienst von drei Berufsmanagern, nämlich Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr., Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff und Dr. Ferdinand Karl Piëch.  Die heutige Volkswagen A.G. beschäftigt mehr als 401,000 Angestellte die zum großen Teil in 61 Fabriken arbeiten in Ländern wie Deutschland, Polen, Tschechien, Slowakei, Rußland, Ungarn, Bosnien-Herzegowina, Italien, Frankreich, Spanien, Portugal, Großbrittanien, China, Indien, Südafrika, Französisch-Guiana, Brasilien, Argentinien und Mexiko.  Die Gruppe Volkswagen produziert jeden Tag 26,600 Kraftfahrzeuge (etwa 180 verschiedene Modelle auf etwa 4 Fahrgestelle), die in mehr als 150 Ländern verkauft werden.

But in the final analysis, there is merely one automotive group that stands head-and-shoulders above the pack – the Volkswagen-Porsche Group ofGermanyandAustria.  They owe much of their success to three great visionaries, or leaders of men: Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr., Dr. Heinz Heinrich Nordhoff and now Dr. Ferdinand Karl Piëch.  Volkswagen is the dream of a peoples’ car come true, a dream which was spawned in the mind of a great Bohemian German-Austrian engineer.  It grew out of the tragic rubble and tears of World War Two to become the success it is today, built upon a dedicated Teutonic work ethic and the commitment of a diverse global staff.  Today’s Volkswagen-Porsche Group employs more than 401,000 individuals in 61 manufacturing and assembly plants in countries such as Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Mainland China, India, South Africa, French Guiana, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

VW and its subsidiaries produce more than 26,600 vehicles every single day, and they sell them in more than 150 countries worldwide.  The number of different models built on a handful of platforms is now up to 180.

The Background of Porsche

Porsche, A.G. has 30% of Volkswagen, A.G. stock today, but this was not always the case.  Porsche itself is almost entirely owned by the heirs of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr., which includes the Porsche and the Piëch families inGermanyandAustria.  The company is headquartered in the Zuffenhausen district of the German city ofStuttgart.  They currently manufacture the venerable Porsche 911 Coupé, the smaller Porsche Boxter Roadster, the Porsche Cayman Sports Car, the Porsche Cayenne SUV (a more upscale version of the Volkswagen Touareg SUV) and the brand new Porsche Panamera – their very first luxury sedan (which has a rear hatch).

Porsche A.G. aus Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen hat neuerdings einen 30 prozentigen Anteil der Volkswagen A.G. aus Wolfsburg-Fallersleben.  Die Familien Porsche und Piëch besitzen 51% der Firma Porsche A.G., während Volkswagen A.G. 49% hält.  Der Luxussportwagenhersteller Porsche verkauft das bekannte Porsche 911 Coupé, das kleinere Porsche Boxter Kabriolett, den Porsche Cayman Sportwagen, das Porsche Cayenne SUV (das dem Volkswagen Touareg ähnlich ist, beide Modelle werden in Preßburg in der Slowakei hergestellt) sowie die neue Porsche Panameria Luxuslimousine.  Die Firma Porsche wurde von Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. im Jahre 1930 inStuttgartgegründet.  Vor und während des Zweiten Weltkrieges haben die Ingenieure der Firma Porsche an den folgenden Fahrzeugen gearbeitet: die Wanderer Limousine, das Zündapp Volksauto, das NSU Volksauto, den KdF-Wagen (die Volkswagen Käfer Limousine und das Kabriolett), den Kübelwagen, den Schwimmwagen, den Kommandeurwagen, den Panzerkampfwagen VIa Tiger I, den Panzerkampfwagen VIb Königstiger II, den Jagdpanzer Elefant, sowie am Prototyp des Großpanzerkampfwagen Maus. Der geplante Panzerkampfwagen Maus ist heute immer noch der schwerste Panzerkampfwagen der Geschichte, und der Königstiger II war der fähigste Panzerkampfwagen des Zweiten Weltkrieges.

Dr. Porsche’s independent automotive design firm was of course founded inStuttgart,Germanyin 1930.  He and his staff designed the Volkswagen Beetle and its numerous World War Two variants.  They also designed numerous armored fighting vehicles for the World War Two German Army (the “Wehrmacht-Heer” in German).  These included the Tiger I Main Battle Tank, the Tiger II “King Tiger” Main Battle Tank, the “Elefant” (“elephant” in English) Tank Destroyer and the prototype “Maus” (“mouse” in English) Main Battle Tank.  The Maus was the largest armored fighting vehicle ever made in any country – to this day.

Porsche, A.G. (the modern company) was founded in 1947.  Their first great product was the Porsche 356 Coupé, which was built and sold new from 1948 until early 1966.  This car was heavily based upon the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan, but was “improved” to be a high performance sports coupé.  This model is very highly prized by modern collectors and enthusiasts.  Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. passed away in 1951.

Die heutige Porsche A.G. wurde im Jahre 1947 gegründet. Der erste nachkriegs Porsche Sportwagen war das Porsche 356 Coupé, das zwischen 1948 und 1966 hergestellt wurde.  Der Wagen war ursprünglich auf die Volkswagen Käfer Limousine basiert.  Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. starb im Jahre 1951.  Seitdem hat Porsche A.G. viele erfolgreiche Rennsportwagen entwickelt, wie zum Beispiel den Porsche 550 Spyder, den Porsche 904, den Porsche 906 sowie den Porsche 908.  Die ersten und frühen Porsche Sportwagen sowie Rennsportwagen wurden mit luftgekühlten Heckboxermotoren ausgestattet – genau wie die Volkswagen Käfer Limousine.  Im Jahre 1976 hat Porsche A.G. den ersten wassergekühlten Linienzylindermotor entworfen – für das Porsche 924 Coupé.  Der Nachfolger des Porsche 924 Coupés waren das Porsche 944 Coupé (im Jahre 1982) und das Porsche 968 Coupé (im Jahre 1992).  Das Porsche 968 Coupé wurde im Jahre 1995 eingestellt, und mit dem Porsche Boxter Kabriolett ersetzt.  Der Porsche Boxter ist mit einem wassergekühlten Heckboxermotor ausgerüstet.  Im Jahre 1977 wurde das Porsche 928 Coupé als Großtourencoupé eingeführt, und auch wie der Porsche 924, war mit einem vorne liegenden wassergekühlten Linienzylindermotor ausgestattet.  Die Produktion des Porsche 928 Coupé wurde im Jahre 1995 eingestellt, weil das Porsche 911 Coupé weiter gebaut wurde.  Das bekannte Porsche 911 Coupé hat das 356 Coupé im Jahre 1964 ersetzt.  Der Prototyp des Porsche 911 wurde im Jahre 1963 entworfen, der Produktionswagen wurde in Europa im Jahre 1964 eingeführt und in Nordamerika im Jahre 1965.

The company has built many racing cars as well, which were of course never sold to the general public.  These included the Porsche 550 Spyder, the Porsche 904, the Porsche 906 and the Porsche 908.  All early Porsche models featured rear-mounted, air-cooled “boxer” engines – just like the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan.

In 1976, Porsche introduced their very first front-mounted, water-cooled “in-line” engine car – the Porsche 924 Coupé.  This was succeeded by the Porsche 944 Coupé in 1982, and finally by the Porsche 968 Coupé in 1992.  The Porsche 968 was removed from production in the 1995 model year, and succeeded by the current Porsche Boxter – a car with a rear-mounted, water-cooled “boxer” engine.

The Porsche 928 was introduced in 1977 as a “grand tourer” sport coupé.  It was originally intended to replace the venerable Porsche 911 with the Porsche 928, but thankfully this never took place due to the enduring popularity of the Porsche 911.  The Porsche 928 (like the smaller and less expensive Porsche 924) also had a front-mounted, water-cooled engine.  In the case of the Porsche 928, it had a larger and more powerful V-8 engine.  The Porsche 928 was discontinued in 1995, just like the less expensive Porsche 968 (successor to the Porsche 924 and 944).

Ferdinand Anton Ernst “Ferry” Porsche, Jr. (1909-1998) managed the great sports car manufacturer founded by his illustrious father from the time of his father’s death in 1951 until 1972.  Ferry’s elder sister Louise Porsche Piëch (1904-1999) was married to the lawyer Anton Piëch (thus the son-in-law of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.), who managed the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben,Lower Saxonyduring the war years of 1941 to 1945.  Anton and Louise are the parents of Ernst, Ferdinand (the leader of the modern Volkswagen Group), Hans-Michel and Louise Porsche Piëch.

Porsche A.G. wurde zwischen 1951 und 1972 von Ferdinand Anton Ernst “Ferry” Porsche, Jr. (1909-1998) geleitet.  Ferry Porsche ist der Sohn von Prof. Dr. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951).  Die ältere Schwester von Ferry Porsche ist Louise Porsche Piëch (1904-1999), die mit dem Rechtsanwalt Anton Piëch verheiratet war.  Zwischen 1941 und 1945 hat Anton Piëch das Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben geleitet.  Anton und Louise Porsche Piëch sind die Eltern von Ernst, Ferdinand Karl (der heutige Vorsitzender der Gruppe Volkswagen-Porsche), Hans-Michel und Louise.  Seit 1972 wird die Porsche A.G. nicht mehr von Familienmitgliedern geleitet.  Zwischen 1972 und 1981 wurde die bekannte Sportwagenfirma von Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann (1918-1995) geleitet.  Dr. Fuhrmann war zwischen 1947 bei Porsche tätig bis er im Jahre 1995 in den Ruhestand trat.  Zwischen 1981 und 1988 diente Peter W. Schutz (geboren 1930) als Vorsitzender des Sportwagenherstellers.  Herr Schutz ist Deutschamerikaner, dessen deutschjüdische Eltern in Berlin geboren wurden.  Herr Schutz, ein Berufsingengieur, hat vordem 15 Jahre für Caterpillar Tractor in Peoria, Illinois und anschließend 11 Jahre für Cummins Engine Company gearbeitet.  Zwischen 1978 und 1981 war Herr Schutz bei Deutz A.G. als Leiter deren Maschinenfabrikabteilung tätig.  Magirus-Deutz A.G. gehört heute zu Iveco, eine Tochterfirma von Fiat S.p.a. aus Italien.

Since 1972, the corporate structure of Porsche, A.G. was changed to allow for complete family ownership (by the Porsche and Piëch families, who are thus directly descended from the great Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.) – while at the same time having professional corporate management which is not related to the family.  Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann (1918-1995) was the first non-family member CEO of Porsche from 1972 until 1981.  Dr. Fuhrmann had a degree from the Vienna University of Technology, and worked for Porsche from 1947 until his retirement in 1995.

Peter W. Schutz (born in 1930) was the Chief Executive Officer of Porsche from 1981 until 1988.  He is a German-American who was born to German-Jewish parents inBerlin.  Mr. Schutz earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and worked for the Caterpillar Tractor inPeoria,Illinoisfor fifteen years after his graduation.  He then worked for the Cummins Engine Company for eleven years, initially in strategic corporate planning and then eventually rising to become Vice President of Sales and Service of Truck Engines in theUnited StatesandCanada.  In 1978, he joined Deutz, A.G. (a German engine manufacturer) as Head of the Deutz Engine Division.

Zwischen 1988 und 1993 wurde Porsche A.G. von Anton Bohn (geboren 1947) geleitet.  Herr Bohn hatte von 1968 bis er im Jahre 1988 bei Porsche eintrat für Nixdorf Computer A.G. gearbeitet.  Zwischen 1993 und Juli 2009 wurde Porsche A.G. von Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking (geboren 1952) geleitet.  Dr. Wiedeking war auch Vorstandsmitglied bei Volkswagen A.G., und trat bei Porsche A.G. im Jahre 1983 ein.  Seitdem 16. Juli 2009 wird die Porsche A.G. von Michael Macht (geboren 1961) geleitet.  Vorher diente Herr Macht als Produktionsmanager von Porsche A.G. in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.  Volkswagen A.G. wird bald 50 Prozent von Porsche A.G. besitzen und ist der größte Kraftwagenhersteller Europas.  Porsche A.G. besitzt nun 51 Prozent von Volkswagen A.G.  Das Bundesland Niedersachsen hält 20 Prozent, das Land Katar 17 Prozent, die Schweizerische Vereinsbank UBS vier Prozent, die VW-Gewerkschaft etwa zwei Prozent und unabhängige Aktienbesitzer halten etwa sechs Prozent von Volkswagen A.G.

Arno Bohn (born in 1947) was the Chief Executive Officer of Porsche, A.G. from 1988 until 1993.  He worked for Nixdorf Computer, A.G. (a German computer company based in the city ofPaderborn) from 1968 until he joined Porsche.

Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking (born in 1952) was the CEO of Porsche, A.G. from 1993 until July of 2009.  He also serves upon the Supervisory Board of Directors of Volkswagen, A.G., which is now 30% owned by Porsche.  He joined Porsche in 1983.  Dr. Wiedeking’s total annual compensation was on par with the most highly paid managers in theUnited States, or about US $65 million per year.

On July 16, 2009 Michael Macht (48 years old) became the new Chairman of Porsche, A.G.  Previously, he had served as Porsche’s Head of Production inStuttgart.  Volkswagen, A.G. owns 49.9% of Porsche, A.G. and is thereby the parent ofEurope’s largest and greatest automotive group.  The government ofQatarfrom theMiddle Easthas a 17 percent equity stake in Volkswagen, A.G. which eliminated Porsche, A.G.’s debt burden of 9 billion Euros – taken on in order to buy control of Volkswagen, A.G.  Porsche, A.G. purchased 18.53% of Volkswagen, A.G. in October 2005, and increased their equity stake in VW to 25.1% by June 2006.  This grew to 30.9% in March 2007, to 35.14% in September 2008 and to 50.76% by January 2009.  Porsche, A.G. now owns 30 percent of Volkswagen, A.G. and Porsche has become one of the many successful brands within the Volkswagen Group.

Effective October 1, 2010 Michael Macht will succeed Jochem Heizmann to become the Volkswagen Group’s chief of production.  Taking his place at Porsche, A.G. will be Matthias Müller, age 57.  VW’s goal for Porsche is to increase annual worldwide sales to 150,000 new cars and SUVs.  Müller has been Volkswagen’s top car model strategist since 2007, and before that he led product management for Audi A.G. from 2003 until 2007.

In addition to manufacturing sports cars, sports coupés, racing cars, SUVs and 4-door coupés, Porsche also used to make farm tractors.  Due to Porsche’s relatively “small” size (in terms of the number of vehicles they make), by necessity they are perhaps even more focused on engineering than Volkswagen.  The overriding theme in Volkswagen-Porsche is the focus on technology (engineering), and the focus on quality.  In general,Germanyis very well known for high quality manufacturing and craftsmanship.  Germans as a people are also known for their financial sense of responsibility.  All of these positive qualities seem be magnified in the Volkswagen-Porsche automotive business group – even more so than they are in Germany’s other major vehicle groups (of Daimler, A.G., BMW, A.G., Adam Opel, G.m.b.H. and in Ford of Germany).

Anfangs baute Porsche Traktoren für Bauern.  Weil die Porsche A.G. verhältnismäßig klein ist, ist die Ingenieurwissenschaft für das Unternehmen desto wichtiger.  Das Ingenieurwesen ist bei vielen deutschen Firmen besonders ausgeprägt.  Ein Beispiel dafür ist die General Motors Corporation weil deren ehemalige deutsche Tochtergesellschaft Adam Opel G.m.b.H. für GM weltweit so wichtig war.  PKW-Modelle bei Vauxhall (in Großbrittanien), bei Holden (in Australien), sowie bei Saturn und Cadillac (in den Vereinigten Staaten) wurden alle von Adam Opel in Rüsselsheim entwickelt. 

The German focus on engineering means that both Adam Opel and Ford of Germany have been a major source of technology for both GM and Ford Motor worldwide, respectively.  Vauxhall of theUnited Kingdomis part of Adam Opel, and the cars they sell are built upon Opel platforms.

Volkswagen-Porsche engineering and technology is second to none.  Porsche is known for their “triptonic” automatic transmission, which has the performance quality of a manual transmission.  Volkswagen is at the international forefront of both diesel technology and in the turbo-charging and super-charging of gasoline engines.  This allows them to obtain maximum performance from smaller engine displacements.  It also allows for the most superior fuel economy and the lowest exhaust emissions, which is “friendly” to the environment.

Ultimately, the success of Volkswagen-Porsche is good for its customers, good for the communities in which they build and sell their products, good for their employees and their families, and very good for their shareholders.  All of this success is the end result of high quality work – which must be the first order of the day in any business selling whatever product or service.

My Favorite Automotive Brand: the creation of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.

My favorite automotive brand by far since I was a small child is none other than “Volkswagen,” Europe’s andGermany’s most popular marque. The idea of a German “peoples’ car” (the English translation of the German word “Volkswagen”) was born in the mind of the great Austrian-born engineer Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. He formed his own engineering firm in Stuttgart, Germany in 1931 and built the first Volkswagen Beetle sedan prototype that very same year, albeit under the “Wanderer” marque.  “Wanderer” is now a dormant brand name, owned by Volkswagen’s luxury “Audi” subsidiary.  The old Volkswagen Type 1 or “Beetle” chassis became the most popular car ever manufactured on a single chassis, with more than 26 million examples having been built and sold from 1935 until today.  When one includes the entire number of Type 1 engines (long blocks) ever manufactured brand new, the number rises to an even more impressive 38 million.  The reason for the numerical difference is the vitality of the market for restorations.  These replacement engines are manufactured world wide – especially in Europe, North America andLatin America.

Dr. Porsche used the now famous “flat 4? concept of a 4-cylinder, rear-mounted, horizontally-opposed “boxer motor” configuration along with air-cooling instead of water-cooling. This was done for a number of reasons – to use fewer parts in the engine, to increase engine longevity and because so few German homes in the 1930s had enclosed garages. Passenger cars were luxury items, and most Germans did not even own motorcycles or motor-scooters before the end of World War Two.

Meine “Lieblingsautomarke” ist bestimmt Volkswagen. Aber wie alt ist der deutsche “Volkswagen?” Mit dem Käfer “V1? (das Auto kann man nun im Automuseum Wolfsburg in Niedersachsen sehen) hat die Arbeitsfront des dritten Reiches das Volkswagenprojekt im Jahre 1935 begonnen. Der berühmte und hochbegabte böhmischgeborene Ingenieur Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. ist der “Vater” des deutschen Volkswagens. Seit 1900 hat er mehrere Autos für Hersteller wie Lohner, Austro-Daimler, Daimler-Benz, Wanderer, Zündapp und NSU gebaut. Während der beiden Weltkriege hat er Flugzeugmotore, Lokomotiven, Lastwagen, Personenwagen und auch Panzerkampfwagen für Österreich-Ungarn und das deutsche Reich gebaut. Sowie Dr. Hans Ledwinka (der auch sehr berühmte und hochbegabte Ingenieur von “Tatra,” oder Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau in Mähren), forschte Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. den luftgekühlten Boxermotor des zukünftigen deutschen Volkswagens.

I discuss the forerunners of the eventual air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle sedan under both the Tatra/Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau and the Audi-NSU sections which follow, because the early cars were built by these particular Volkswagen subsidiaries. What follows immediately is a year-by-year history of the Volkswagen Group, discussing the air-cooled Beetle and many of its fellow Volkswagen Group vehicles.

The “platform” or chassis system I reference was in place at Volkswagen from 1935 until 2006. Basically, this is Types 1 through 4 for the older air-cooled models, and Classes A through E, plus T, for the water-cooled vehicles.

Die Typen des deutschen Volkswagens sind Typ 1 (Käfer, VW 1302, VW 1303, Karmann-Ghia, VW 181), Typ 2 (Transporter aller Generationen), Typ 3 (Stufenheck, Variant, Großer Karmann, Fließheck, Karmann-Ghia TC aus Brasilien, SP-1/2 aus Brasilien), Typ 4 (VW 411 und VW 412), A-Klaße (Golf, Scirocco, Jetta, Vento, Bora, Corrado, Polo, Lupo, Fox, Caddy, Touran), B-Klaße (Multivan), C-Klaße (Passat, Santana, Sharan), D-Klaße (Phaeton), E-Klaße (Touareg) und T-Klaße (LT oder Leichttransporter).

1935 Model Year: the Volkswagen Beetle V1 and V2 Prototypes

The first cars to use the same chassis as the famous Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle Sedan were in fact the 1935 V1 and V2 prototypes underwritten byGermany’s government. Although the German government backed the project financially, the technical design was all that of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. V1 meant “Versuch Nummer 1? or “trial car number 1.” This was the closed sedan version of the Volkswagen Beetle. V2 was the open cabriolet version of the Volkswagen Beetle. These very early Volkswagens had an engine of 895 ccm displacement, which of course used air-cooling. The engine was mounted in the rear of the car, directly over the drive wheels. This was done to save on parts, and to increase traction when driving. The cylinders were horizontally-opposed in a “boxer” configuration – also done to reduce the number of parts used and to increase traction when driving. V1 still exists in Automuseum Wolfsburg, the officialVolkswagenGroupMuseumlocated in Volkswagen’s home town ofWolfsburgin theGermanStateof LowerSaxony. The car is red in color, and it has no rear window – merely slits to cool the engine and through which the driver can see with his rear-view mirror.

Die ersten Personenkraftwagen mit dem bekannten Volkswagen Typ 1 Fahrgestell waren die zwei Prototypen von 1935, die Volkswagen Käfer V1 Limousine und das Volkswagen Käfer V2 Kabriolett.  Das Kraftfahrzeug hatte einen 895 quadratzentimeter luftgekühlten Heckboxermotor.  Die neugebaute V1 Limousine ist im Automuseum Wolfsburg ausgestellt.  Die technischen Ahnen der Volkswagen Käfer sind die drei NSU Volksautos von 1934, die drei Zündapp Volksautos von 1932 bis 1933, die Wanderer Limousine von Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche von 1931, sowie die 14,998 Produktions- Tatra 11 und Tatra 12 Kraftwagen von 1919 bis 1930.  Die Tatra 11 und 12 Fahrzeuge waren als Limousine und Kabriolett (Phaeton), sowie als kleiner Pritschenwagen zu haben.  Der Tatra 11 hatte Bremsen nur an den Fronträdern, während der Tatra 12 mit Bremsen an vier Rädern ausgestattet war.  Beide Modelle, 11 und 12, waren mit einem luftgekühlten Vornboxermotor ausgestattet.  Die Firma Tatra (aus Nesselsdorf in Mähren) baute 161,672 Kraftwagen (PKWs und LKWs), Eisenbahnlokomotiven sowie Pferdekutschenwagen zwischen 1850 und 1918.  Zwischen 1699 und 1849 hat der Vorgänger von Tatra aus Nesselsdorf etwa 90,600 Pferdeschlitten gebaut.

1936 Model Year: the VW3 Series Prototypes

The next 3 Volkswagen Beetle prototypes built in 1936 were known as the VW3 series. They were very similar to the V1 prototype closed-sedan from 1935. One of these three cars still exists today at Automuseum Wolfsburg inLower Saxony. It is orange in color. The Volkswagen Beetle prototypes from both 1935 and 1936 had headlamps which were separate from the front fenders, much as one sees with older cars.

Im Jahre 1936 wurden die drei Volkswagen Käfer VW3 Prototypen hergestellt.  Ein neugebautes Exemplar ist im Automuseum Wolfsburg ausgestellt.  Der Wagen ist orangefarbig lackiert, und die Scheinwerfer (wie im Jahre 1935) sind nicht in den Stoßfängern integriert, wie es zu der Zeit üblich war.  Im Jahre 1937 wurden die 30 VW30 Prototypen bei Daimler-Benz A.G. in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim hergestellt.  Eins von zwei neugebauten Exemplaren ist im Automuseum Wolfsburg ausgestellt, es ist dunkelblau lackiert, und das andere Exemplar, dunkelgrau lackiert, ist im Privatbesitz und gehört einem belgischen Volkswagensammler.  Die Marktpreise für solche alten Volkswagen Käfer sind mindestens 750,000 Euro pro Exemplar.  Die VW Prototypen von 1935 bis 1937 hatten Heckfenster die von den Motordeckelluftschlitzen abgedeckt waren.  Im Jahre 1937 bekam der Volkswagen Käfer einen größeren, 984 ccm luftgekühlten Heckboxermotor mit 22 PS Leistung.  Die Höchstgeschwindigkeit lag bei 100 Stundenkilometer.

1937 Model Year: the VW30 Series Prototypes

The 30 Volkswagen Beetle prototypes from 1937 were known as the VW30 series. They were all closed sedans, and were built in the Mercedes-Benz factory inStuttgart,Germany. Two of these cars still exist today. One is dark blue and is owned by Automuseum Wolfsburg inLower Saxony. The other car is dark gray in color, and is owned by a private Volkswagen collector inBelgium. The fair market value of such a car is no less than US $500,000 – or likely much more by now. These cars still had no proper rear window. There was a window located directly behind the rear passenger seat (i.e., within the car itself), but the rear exterior of the car still had just the slits for cooling the engine compartment. This was in fact part of the large engine lid (larger than on the pre-production cars of 1938 and on the post-World War Two production cars). In 1937, engine capacity was raised from 895 ccm up to 984 ccm (cubic centimeters) and output was 22 BHP (brake horsepower). Top speed in either case was 62 miles per hour. The 1937 cars also had headlights which blended into the front fenders for the first time.

1938 and 1939 Model Years: the KdF-Wagen

The civilian Volkswagen Beetles manufactured from 1938 until 1944 were known as the “KdF” or “Kraft durch Freude” Wagen (”Strength through Joy” car). KdF was the labor front of the National Socialist, or “Nazi” regime inGermanyfrom 1933 until 1945. Like any other socialist government, the Nazi government had a ridiculous alphabet soup of new government organizations. “Nazi” is actually a German abbreviation for the official name of the Nazi Party, which was “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” or “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” in English. The party was founded by right-wing extremist nationalists and socialists in 1918 after World War One, and was finally outlawed in 1945. The Nazi Party ruledGermanyfrom January 1933 until May 1945, and was the largest political party inGermanyfrom 1932 until 1945. At its height, the Nazi Party had 11 million members throughout German-occupiedEurope.

Im Jahre 1938 wurden 44 und im folgenden Jahre 1939 wurden 50 vorkriegs Produktionsprototypen des deutschen Volkswagens hergestellt und der internationalen Autoindustriepresse vorgestellt.  Der Hubraum des luftgekühlten Heckboxermotors wurde auf 985 ccm vergrößert, und die Leistung des Motors auf 23 Pferdestärke gehoben.  Diese VW-Käfer Limousinen, Faltdachlimousinen und Kabrioletts wurden entweder schwarz oder dunkelblaugraufarbig lackiert.  Einige Exemplare sind heute im Automuseum Wolfsburg ausgestellt.  Seit Anfang des Zweiten Weltkrieges im September 1939 und bis zum Ende des Krieges in Mai 1945 wurde die zivile Serienproduktion des Volkswagens fast eingestellt.  Zur Zeit des Krieges wurden 630 mehr Exemplare des KdF-Wagens hergestellt.  Die Wagen wurden an ranghohe Regierungsbeamte und an ranghohe Parteimitglieder der NSDAP ausgeliefert.  Während des Krieges wurden auch 51,100 Exemplare des Kübelwagens, 14,313 Exemplare des Schwimmwagens, 2,400 Exemplare des militärischen Volkswagen Käfers (der Typ 51) sowie 669 Exemplare des Kommandeurwagens an die deutsche Wehrmacht ausgeliefert.

The 44 pre-production prototypes of 1938 were the first cars revealed to the German and the international press at the annual auto show inBerlin,Germany. These cars were closed sedans, sunroof sedans (with a fabric sunroof) and open convertibles. They were all black in color with gray cloth seats. The 50 pre-production prototypes built in 1939 were identical to the 1938 cars in looks, but the engine was slightly enlarged to a displacement of 985 ccm (cubic centimeters) and to an output of 23 BHP (brake horsepower). You can still see some restored examples at Automuseum Wolfsburg inLower Saxony, which is located on the same property as Volkswagen’s world headquarters. Unfortunately, these civilian cars never reached mass production until after World War Two. The onset of war meant that production at all German factories switched over to making armaments. The Volkswagen factory produced tens of thousands of of military Volkswagens from 1940 until 1945 – but only 630 more civilian Volkswagen Beetles were produced from 1940 until 1944. Most of the civilian Beetles produced during World War Two were used by high-ranking government officials.

Volkswagen during World War Two (1939-1945)

The most numerous military Volkswagen was the “Kübelwagen” (or “bucket car” in English). This was basicallyGermany’s “Jeep” during World War Two. More than 51,100 examples were built from 1940 until 1946 (or one year after the end of the war). The next most numerous military Volkswagen was the amphibious “Schwimmwagen” (or “swimming car” in English). This unique car was able to navigate rivers and lakes. A grand total of 14,313 “Schwimmwagen” were produced from 1942 until 1944. The third most numerous military Volkswagen was a Beetle sedan fitted with the military “Kübelwagen” chassis (thus giving the car a higher stance, lower gearing and a more spartan interior compared to the civilian version of the Volkswagen Beetle). More than 2,400 examples of this “Type 51? military Beetle were built from 1943 until 1946. The fourth most common military Volkswagen of the Second World War was the 4-wheel drive “Kommandeurwagen” (”commander’s car” in English), which was much like the “Type 51? military Beetle but with 4-wheel drive. A mere 669 examples were built from 1942 until 1946.

The end of World War Two and a New Beginning for Volkswagen

After the end of World War Two in May 1945, theWolfsburgfactory lay in ruins just like much ofGermany. The states of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia all fell within the new British zone of occupation. British and Canadian occupation troops comprised what became known as the “British Army of the Rhine” or “BAOR.” A British Army Major named Ivan Hirst was made the commander of the factory inWolfsburg, which the British renamed the “Wolfsburg Motor Works, Limited” until they returned it back to German control in 1948. The people ofWolfsburgwere fortunate to have a commandant as good as Major Hirst. He bore absolutely no enmity toward the defeated Germans, and in fact endeared himself to them. More than 40,000 brand new Volkswagen Beetles were manufactured under his leadership from May 1945 until the Volkswagen factory was turned over to the government of the State ofLower Saxonyin 1948. Most of these cars were either black, dark blue or gray in color with gray cloth seats. They had the famous split rear window which went back to the 1938 pre-production prototypes. The only technical change in 1945 was to enlarge the engine to be identical with that of the 1940 “Kübelwagen” – 1,131 ccm (cubic centimeters) with an output of 25 BHP (brake horsepower). Top speed was still just 62 miles per hour – the same as it had been since the very first prototypes of 1935.

Am Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges im Mai 1945 war Nordwestdeutschland (d.h. Niedersachsen, die Hansestadt Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein sowie Nordrhein-Westfalen) unter britischer Besatzung.  Britische und kanadische Truppen bildeten die sogenannte “British Army of the Rhine” (“britische Armee des Rheingebiets” auf deutsch).  Von 1945 bis 1948 wurde das deutsche Volkswagenwerk von Major Ivan Hirst geleitet.  Zu der Zeit wurden mehr als 40,000 neue Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen hergestellt.  Die Wagen wurden hauptsächlich entweder schwarz, dunkelblau oder dunkelgrau-farbig lackiert, und mit grauen Stoffsitzbezug ausgestattet.  Diese Fahrzeuge waren den KdF-Wagen Produktionsprototypen von 1938 und 1939 sehr ähnlich, wurden aber mit etwas stärkeren 1,131 ccm luftgekühlten Heckboxermotoren mit 25 PS-Leistung ausgerüstet.  Die maximale Geschwindigkeit des Käfers lag immer noch bei 100 Stundenkilometer.

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was imprisoned by the Western Allies until 1947, like so many other prominent German leaders. Not because they were really “criminals” but because the Allies wanted to punish the German people, especially those Germans who had been in positions of authority from 1933 until 1945. Dr. Porsche designed many ofGermany’s most lethal battle tanks during World War Two, including the Panther, the Tiger, the King Tiger, the Elefant and the Maus. These tanks far outclassed anything deployed by the Americans or the British. They were even better than the vaunted T-34 tank built by the Russians. The T-34 was better than all ofGermany’s earlier tanks – including the Panzerkampfwagen (”armored combat vehicles” in English) I, II, III and IV.Germanymanufactured more than 37,900 tanks until May 1945, and the German Army and Waffen-SS had 30 Panzer (armored) divisions and 21 Panzergrenadier (mechanized infantry) divisions from 1933 until 1945.

1948 Model Year: Volkswagen returns to German Management

In 1948, fate would again be kind to Volkswagen. Their new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer was Dr. Heinrich “Heinz” Nordhoff (1899-1968), who joined Volkswagen from Adam Opel, A.G., the German subsidiary of General Motors Corporation. Adam Opel, A.G. is based in the German city ofRüsselsheim. Dr. Nordhoff would lead Volkswagen to become the 4th largest auto group on earth. In 1948, Volkswagen would start to export cars as well – first to theNetherlandsand then to the rest of the world. Volkswagen’s first official export agent was Mr. Ben Pon of theNetherlands. 1948 was also the first year for the Hebmüller 2-passenger Beetle Convertible. Hebmüller is a former German coachbuilder, which unfortunately went out of business in 1953. Their factory burned down due to an accident, but they had no insurance to cover the loss. Such were the tough times in early post-World War Two Germany. Merely 750 Hebmüllers were built, and they are very cherished by Volkswagen collectors today. A fully restored car can fetch up to US $100,000. It was more luxurious compared to the Karmann Beetle Convertible, and its small rear bench seat was comparable to that of the eventual Karmann-Ghia Coupé and Convertible models – not really designed for an adult on a long trip. These small rear bench seats in Hebmüllers, Karmann-Ghias and even Porsches are more suited for luggage, groceries, children or small pets.

1949 Model Year: the “Export Beetle”

In 1949, Volkswagen manufactured more than 46,000 new Type 1 Beetles and 8 of the first Type 2 Microbus prototypes. They also commenced their fruitful relationship with Karmann of Osnabrück,Germanyto build the 4-passenger Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. 1949 was also the first year for the official “Export Beetle,” which was designed to compete in tougher foreign markets such as theUnited States. The car had more chrome trim to give it stronger exterior appeal, and nicer interior appointments as well. The dashboard was more colorful, and the upholstery was was nicer and more plush. The rear passenger bench even had nice round arm rests on each side.

Entscheidend für den eventuellen weltweiten Erfolg des Volkswagen Käfers war der Entschluß, den Volkswagen ab 1947 offiziell zu exportieren.  Das erste Land, mit dem 1947 Export-Verträge geschlossen wurden, waren die Niederlande (mit dem holländischen Exportkaufmann Ben Pon).  Um dem Geschmack der ausländischen Kunden entgegenzukommen, wurde im Juli 1949 das Export-Modell des VW-Käfers vorgestellt.  Der Wagen unterschied sich vom Standard-Modell des VW-Käfers durch verchromte Stoßstangen, Radkappen, Lampenringe und Türarmaturen.  Das Armaturenbrett blieb in seiner Gestaltung fast unverändert, doch erhielt die Exportlimousine des VW-Käfers ein Zweispeichenlenkrad.  Innenausstattung und Polsterung der Exportlimousine waren gegenüber dem Standard-Modell qualitativ besser.  Der Käfer wurde auch erstmals mit einer Hochglanzlackierung ausgeliefert (bis 1948 gabe es den Wagen nur in matter Farbe weil bessere Lackqualitäten noch nicht zu haben waren).  Im gleichen Jahre 1949 präsentierte Wilhelm Karmann das viersitzige Käfer Kabriolett, das zweisitzige Hebmüller Kabriolett wurde schon 1948 vorgestellt.

1950 Model Year

In 1950, worldwide Volkswagen sales increased to more than 89,000 Type 1 Beetles and more than 8,000 new Type 2 Microbuses – this was the first real model year for the Volkswagen Type 2 Microbus. Both the Type 1 Beetle and the Type 2 Bus shared the same 1,131 ccm (cubic centimeters) rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer engine, which was located directly above the drive wheels.

Neu im Jahre 1950 war das Sonnendach – es handelt sich genau genommen um ein Faltdach.  Die Volkswagenbelegschaft feierte auch im Jahre 1950 die Produktion des 100,000sten nachkriegs Käfers.  Äußerliches Erkennungszeichen des Volkswagen Käfers von 1951 sind die Ventilationsklappen befindlich auf beiden Seiten über den vorderen Kotflüglen und unter der Kofferraumhaube nahe den Türen.  Das Exportmodell wurde nicht nur durch eine zusätzliche Zierleiste für die Windschutzscheibe aufgewertet, sondern auch durch das Wolfsburger Wappen, das die Kofferraumhaube ziert, bis 1961 in Europa und bis 1962 in Nordamerika.  Im Oktober 1951 rollte der 250,000ste nachkriegs VW-Käfer vom Band.  Alle Volkswagenmodelle, die nach Nordamerika offiziell exportiert worden sind, waren Exportmodelle.

1951 Model Year: Front-Quarter Vent Flaps

In 1951, vent flaps were added to the front quarter panels of the Volkswagen Beetle, along with the famousWolfsburgcrest to the hood of the car. Chrome trim was also added to the front windshield. With the advent of the “Export” model in 1949, the cars sent abroad were dressed up somewhat with better interiors and more chrome trim on the exterior (for the hub caps, the side window trim and the front hood trim).

1952 Model Year: Last Year for the Split Window

In 1952, global production and sales increased yet again to 114,000 Type 1 Beetles and 21,000 Type 2 Microbuses. The Beetles in 1952 received front side vent windows for the driver and front passenger, while the front-quarter body panel vent flaps from 1951 were removed. Variants for the Microbus included a passenger bus (the “Kombi” which had removable seats), a panel van and a pickup truck. The pickup truck would eventually be available either with a single cab or a double cab for more personnel. All of the Type 2 Volkswagen trucks became popular with business owners and with government agencies as well (the police, fire department and the military). This popularity was by no means confined toGermany, nor even toEurope.

Schwenkfenster in den Türfenstern wurden erstmals im Jahre 1952 bei den Käfern eingeführt.  An der Motorhaube ersetzte ein handlicher Knebelgriff den bis daher üblichen nach oben gerichteten Griff.  Die Schlußlichter erhielten zwei obenliegende Bremslichter.  Exportmodelle wurden aufgewertet durch eine nunmehr aus Aluminium bestehende und polierte Zierleiste auf der Kofferraumhaube und durch breitere, glatte Zierleisten auf der Gürtellinie. 41,4 Prozent aller VW-Käfer wurden exportiert.  Am 10. März 1953 wurde die Produktion des geteilten Heckfensters – Brezelfenster – eingestellt und durch das neue um 23 Prozent größere und leicht gewölbte Heckfenster ersetzt.  Die Zubehörindustrie hat sich der Änderung gleich angepasst und entwickelte umgehend ein einteiliges Heckfenster, austauschbar gegen das alte Brezelfenster.  Der 500,000ste nachkriegs Wagen lief im Juli 1953 vom Band.  Der Anteil vom Volkswagenwerk an der PKW-Herstellung im Bundesgebiet betrug imposante 42,5 Prozent.  Die durchschnittliche Tagesproduktion, einschließlich der VW-Transporterherstellung, lag zu der Zeit bei 673 neue Fahrzeuge.  In Brasilien wurde Volkswagen do Brasil S.A. in Sao Paolo gegründet, was sich zu einer der bedeutendsten Tochtergesellschaften der Volkswagen A.G. entwickelte.

1953 Model Year: the Oval Window

In 1953, worldwide production and sales increased to 151,000 Type 1 Beetles and 28,000 Type 2 Microbuses. The Beetle received its most visible cosmetic change to date – a one-piece oval rear window replaced the rear oval split-window, which had been in use from 1938 through 1952. 1953 also marked the establishment of a very important overseas subsidiary – Volkswagen doBrasil,S.A.was born inSao Bernardo do Campo,Brazil.Brazilhas an ethnic German population of 18 million people today. They began emigrating from Central Europe toBrazilin the 19th century, and tend to be concentrated in the Southern part of the country. Well-known and large German cities inBrazilinclude NovoHamburg(”New Hamburg” in English) andBlumenau. Brazilian born supermodel Gisele Bündchen is of German ancestry.

1954 Model Year: the 1,2 Liter Engine

1954 saw sales increase again to 202,000 Type 1 Beetles and 40,000 Type 2 Microbuses. The Beetle received a larger engine for the first time since World War Two, when the rear-mounted boxer motor was upgraded to 1,192 ccm (cubic centimeters) and output of 30 BHP (brake horsepower). The Beetle and the Microbus shared the same engine since the introduction of the bus in 1949. 1954 marked the birth of yet another very important overseas subsidiary – Volkswagen de México, S.A. de C.V. was established in the city ofPuebla. México has an ethnic German population of 90,000 people today. Many of them are Mennonites (German Baptists), who reside in rural communities inNorthern Mexico. After 1953, no 1,1 liter Type 1 engines were manufactured anywhere in the world by Volkswagen itself. There is a company in theUnited Statesthat makes such engines for enthusiasts who restore old Volkswagens.

Mit dem neuen 54er Käfer wurde die Motorleistung von 25 auf 30 PS – also um 20 Prozent – gesteigert.  Damit stieg die Höchstgeschwindigkeit des Wagens zum ersten Mal von 100 auf 110 Stundenkilometer.  Erreicht wurde die Leistungsteigerung durch das Vergrößern des Hubraums von 1,131 ccm auf 1,192 ccm und eine Erhöhung der Verdichtung von 5,8 auf 6,6.  Alle Käfermodelle wurden einheitlich mit einem Ölbadluftfilter ausgerüstet.  Vor 140,000 Teilnehmern wurde am 5. August 1955 das Produktionsjubiläum “Eine Million Volkswagen” in Wolfsburg gefeiert.  Die optisch verbesserten Bremsschlußrückstrahler wurden auf den hinteren Kotflügeln 60 Millimeter höher angebracht.  Die Bremslichtfenster nach oben sind entfallen.  Deshalb wurden die Leuchtflächen vergrößert.  Exportmodelle für die Vereinigten Staaten, Kanada und Guam erhielten im Jahre 1955 anstelle der Winkanzeiger (Semaphor) in den vorderen Kotflügeln eingebaute Blinklichter.  Und im Jahre 1956 wurden die Exportmodelle für diese Länder mit den sogenannten “Rammstoßstangen” ausgerüstet.

1955 Model Year: no more Semaphores for the Export Beetle

1955 saw worldwide VW sales rise to 279,000 Type 1 Beetles and 49,000 Type 2 Microbuses. The Export Beetle received front turn signal indicators mounted on the fenders, which replaced the “semaphore” turn indicators previously mounted behind the doors. The semaphores had been in place since 1938, and they actually remained on the Standard Beetle inEuropeuntil about 1960.

1956 Model Year: Bumper Over-Rider Bows

1956 witnessed sales rise again to 333,000 Type 1 Beetles and 62,000 Type 2 Microbuses. The Export Beetle received bumper over-rider “bows” while all Beetles received dual tailpipes in place of the single tailpipe which had been in use since 1935. The front turn signal indicators on Export Beetles had to be moved up somewhat on the front fenders to due the higher bumpers. 1956 also saw the introduction of the Type 1 Karmann-Ghia Coupé – a sporty looking and more luxurious small car based upon the Type 1 Beetle chassis. Figures for Karmann-Ghia sales are included with the Type 1 Beetle in this case. Wilhelm Karmann, A.G. is a German coachbuilding firm located in the city ofOsnabrück. They have been in business since the 19th century, having built horse-drawn carriages in the past. “Ghia” is a famous design studio fromItaly, which designs cars for many manufacturers. The German coachbuilding firm of “Westfalia” also started converting some Type 2 Microbuses into Volkswagen Campers. They have been in business since the 19th century as well, having begun with horse-drawn carriages in the old days. The Westfalia Campers were wonderful, complete with a kitchen sink, an icebox, a stove, a kitchen table, bench seats, screened windows, curtains, wood panels, storage cabinets and closets. The rear part of the vehicle would turn into a double bed, with space for a child in the front.

1957 Model Year

In 1957, worldwide Volkswagen sales increased to 380,000 Type 1 cars (the Beetle and the Karmann-Ghia) and 91,000 Type 2 Microbuses. 1957 was the last year for the oval rear window on the Beetle, and the first year for the brand new Karmann-Ghia Convertible. Today, split window and oval window Beetles are considered to be extremely collectible among Volkswagen enthusiasts. The same holds true for Karmann-Ghia Coupés and Convertibles of all model years. The Karmann-Ghia continued to be built inGermanythrough the end of the 1974 model year, and inBrazilthrough the end of the 1975 model year. Volkswagen models fromBrazilare very unique compared to the rest of the world. Volkswagen doBrasil,S.A.has done a tremendous amount of independent innovation over the years – something which continues today. They have also supplied Volkswagen markets outside ofBrazil, including much of South America, Central America, Asia andAfrica. This includes thePhilippines, where models such as the Beetle Sedan and the Brasilia Hatchback were shipped there in CKD form (Completely Knocked Down kits which were then assembled locally).

Im Jahre 1957 (1958 für Nordamerika) wurde die Windschutzscheibe und das Rückfenster des Volkswagen Käfers wesentlich vergrößert.  Die Vergrößerung der Glasfläche der Windschutzscheibe erfolgte nach oben und an beiden Seiten.  Die Fenstersäulen wurden schmäler.  Die Fläche des Rückfensters wurde sowohl in der Breite als auch in der Höhe erweitert.  Die neue Instrumententafel mit dem Tachometer in unveränderter Ausführung vor dem Fahrer zeigte eine andere Anordnung der Bedienungsknöpfe und rechts (links in Ländern wie Großbrittanien, Irland, Südafrika, Indien und Japan) ein bedeutend breiteres Handschuhfach sowie einen bequemer erreichbaren Schubascher in der Mitte.  Beim Exportmodell lief eine Zierleiste quer über die ganze Schalttafel.  Die Seitenverkleidung im Innenraum wurde nunmehr ganz mit Kunststoff bespannt.  Zum besseren Montieren und besserer Beleuchtung eines zweizeiligen Kennzeichenschildes bekam die Motorhaube eine neue Form.  Beim Motorraumdeckel des Kabrioletts verliefen die Schlitze für den Kühllufteintritt quer.  Um die Fußauflage beim Gasgeben zu verbessern, wurde die übliche Gasrolle durch eine Tretplatte ersetzt.  Auf der internationalen Automobilausstellung in Frankfurt am Main stellte Wilhelm Karmann das zweisitzige Karmann-Ghia Kabriolett vor (Produktionsbeginn am 1. August 1957).  Das Karmann-Ghia Coupé wurde schon am 14. Juli 1955 in Osnabrück vorgestellt.

1958 Model Year: A Larger Rear Window

In 1958, international Volkswagen sales set yet another annual record with 451,000 Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias sold, plus 105,000 Type 2 Microbuses. In 1958, the Volkswagen Beetle received a much larger rear window. This was both suggested by a famous Italian design studio, and was necessitated by changing conditions on the roads of the world. Ever more motor vehicles meant ever more practical and safety-related changes to the Volkswagen model lineup.

Im Jahre 1958 erhielten die Karmann-Ghia Modelle für den nordamerikanischen Markt Rammstoßstangen.  Das Volkswagenwerk verkaufte 37 Prozent aller Kraftwagen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.  Am Jahresende betrug die Tagesproduktion weltweit 2,400 Volkswagen.  Im Jahre 1959 stellte Volkswagen 557,407 Personenkraftwagen her, wovon 58 Prozent exportiert wurden.  Die VW-Belegschaft zählte 54,120 Angestellte, und täglich wurden 2,839 neue Volkswagen hergestellt.

1959 Model Year

575,000 Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias were sold worldwide during the 1959 model year, along with 129,000 Type 2 Microbuses – yet another sales record for Volkswagen. In the VW engineering offices, yet another new model was in the works – the Type 3 line of “mid-sized” Volkswagens. In hindsight, these cars seem small today. But in 1959, they were a definite step up from the Beetle. In some quarters within the company, managers even spoke of the Type 3 as a possible Beetle successor. The first Type 3 prototype in 1957 was code-named the “EA 97.” EA was German for “Entwicklungsauftrag” or “Development Study” in English. The EA 97 looked very much like a Beetle, but with the front and rear fenders larger and blending into the body of the car much more than on the Beetle itself. In 1958 and 1959, 2 more Type 3 prototypes were built with some assistance from Porsche, A.G. of Stuttgart. One car was a conventional “Notchback” sedan in 1958 and the second car was a more aerodyamic “Fastback” sedan in 1959. These two cars certainly looked more handsome compared to the EA 97. They were also powered by Volkswagen’s largest and most powerful engine to date: a 1,493 ccm (cubic centimeter) rear-mounted, air-cooled, boxer motor in a very low “pancake” configuration. In other words, the engine was not very tall – which would allow for a second luggage compartment in the rear (yes, a passenger car with two trunks!). Maximum output was up to 53 BHP (brake horsepower) and top speed was up to 78 miles per hour. This may not sound like much today, but in 1959 this was very competitive with what other carmakers had to offer. Most important of all, the Type 3 proved to handle much better than the Type 1 Beetle – which meant increased safety.

1960 Model Year: the 1-Million annual sales milestone for VW

In 1960, Volkswagen experienced yet another record sales year. 739,000 Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias, 151,000 Type 2 Microbuses and 12 Type 3 Notchbacks were manufactured. The Notchback was a sedan somewhat larger and more roomy compared to the Beetle. It still had just two doors, as Volkswagen had yet to produce a 4-door passenger car. The rear passenger bench featured a central armrest which folded down when in use. Two luggage compartments was another nice feature. The oil dipstick could be accessed without opening the engine compartment, and the car also had an exterior gasoline filler cap – something the Type 1 Beetle still lacked. In the Beetle, one had to open the front trunk to access the gasoline filler cap. A Notchback Convertible was planned, but never put into production. Plans were so far advanced, that brochures were already printed in both German and English. The 10 Notchback Convertibles were built by Karmann of Osnabrück, and the exterior colors were either white or red. Convertible tops were black, and Volkswagen was already famous for having the best-quality convertible tops in the world. VW convertibles compared with those of Rolls-Royce – they had both exterior and interior layers, complete with insulation and windows made of real glass. The interior featured a full leatherette headliner, with struts entirely hidden from view. The Notchback Convertible failed to enter serial production because Volkswagen believed that structural rigidity was not good enough. Two of the prototypes still exist: a red car in Automuseum Wolfsburg and a white car in the Wilhelm Karmann Museum of Osnabrück.

The 1960 Type 1 Beetle and Type 2 Microbus still had the venerable 1,192 ccm (cubic centimeter) rear engine, but the horsepower was increased from 30 to 34. The same engine continued in production until 1985 in Volkswagen’sPuebla,Mexicofactory. Production of the 1,2 liter engine ceased inGermanyin 1977. Total annual worldwide new motor vehicle sales for Volkswagen surpassed one million units for the very first time in 1960.

Im Jahre 1960 verlor der europäische Volkswagen Käfer seine Winkanzeiger (Semaphore).  Stattdessen wurden auf den vorderen Kotflügeln Blinklichter montiert, während die hinteren Blinklichter mit Rück-und Bremslicht in einem Gehäuse zusammengefaßt wurden.  Die Motorleistung des 1,192 ccm luftgekühlten Heckboxermotors wurde von 30 auf 34 PS angehoben.  Die höhere Motorleistung um vier PS wurde vornehmlich durch die höhere Verdichtung (von 6,6 auf 7,0) erzielt.  Dieser Käfermotor wurde bis 1985 in Puebla, Mexiko hergestellt.  Der Motor besaß einen ganz neuen Vergaser (Solex 28 PICT) mit einer Startautomatik anstelle der von Hand zu bedienenden Starterklappe.  Um den Kofferraum für Gepäck entscheidend zu vergrößern, wurde der Kraftstoffbehälter neu gestaltet.  Dadurch erhöht sich das Gepäckvolumen von 85 auf 140 Liter Inhalt.  Am 27. März 1960 wurde der 600,000ste VW-Transporter (Typ 2) fertiggestellt, und am 15. Juni 1960 wurde der 500,000ste Volkswagen nach den Vereinigten Staaten exportiert.  Am 1. September 1961 wurde der total neue VW 1500 (Typ 3 PKW) als Stufenhecklimousine und als großes Karmann-Ghia Coupé in das Produktionsprogramm aufgenommen.  Am 18. Oktober 1961 endete der seit 11 Jahren laufende (ehemalige KdF-Wagen) Volkswagensparerprozeß mit einer Ausgleichung.  Am 4. Dezember 1961 wurden fünf Millionen Volkswagen seit Kriegsende im Mai 1945 gebaut.

1961 Model Year: A Fully-Synchronized Transmission

1961 was another record year for Volkswagen (does this sound familiar?). 827,000 Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias, 168,000 Type 2 Microbuses and 10,000 Type 3 Notchback Sedans were built and sold worldwide. The Type 2 had its own special factory in the German city ofHanover(spelled “Hannover” in German), while the Beetle and the Notchback came from the huge factory inWolfsburg. In fact, theWolfsburgfactory is the single largest automotive factory under one roof in the entire world. The Beetle Convertible and all Karmann-Ghias came from the factory in Osnabrück. Volkswagen also built a special export factory designed for the North American market in the German port city ofEmdenin East Frisia,Lower Saxony. The 1961 Beetle had a very important technical upgrade – that of a fully synchronized transmission. Prior to 1961, the Beetle had a “split-case” transmission, in which the first gear was not synchronized but the upper gears were synchronized. What does this mean for the driver? Quite frankly, a pre-1961 Beetle should be at a complete standstill before entering first gear. If not, you will hear those poor gears “grind.” The Volkswagen Beetle had a “crashbox” transmission up to 1948. What does this mean? A “crashbox” transmission is not synchronized at all – one must double clutch each time before changing gears.

1962 Model Year

I was born in 1962, and my parents purchased their very first Volkswagen in late 1961 – a 1962 model year Beetle sunroof sedan with Ruby Red exterior paint. Their dealership at the time was Staten Island Small Cars onHylan BoulevardinStaten Island,New YorkCity. 1962 was another record year for Volkswagen. Worldwide, 876,000 Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias, 180,000 Type 2 Microbuses and 128,000 Type 3 cars were sold. The Beetle received larger tail lights for the first time, replacing the tiny ones which had been in use since 1938. The Type 3 line saw the addition of the Type 3 Variant, called an “estate car” in theUnited Kingdomor a wagon in theUnited StatesandCanada. This was to become the most popular body style within the Type 3 range, due to its great utility. The Type 3 line also witnessed the addition of the Type 3 Karmann-Ghia Coupé, which never became as popular as its Type 1 cousin. InGermany, it was called the “Großer Karmann” (”large Karmann” in English), and inEnglandandCanadapeople called it the “Razor Edge Ghia” due to its unique styling. It was never officially sold in theUSA, which was the same situation with the Type 3 Notchback Sedan. Nevertheless, many “gray market” cars entered theUSA, and both models are extremely popular among Volkswagen enthusiasts in theUSAtoday. A convertible model was also planned for the Razor Edge Ghia, but just as with the Notchback Convertible, Volkswagen decided not to produce the car. Brochures were already printed for the Razor Edge Convertible, so this demonstrates just how close it came to serial production. By the time production of the Razor Edge Karmann-Ghia Coupé ceased in 1969, just 42,000 examples had been manufactured at the Wilhelm Karmann plant in Osnabrück.

Am 9. Januar 1962 begann die Herstellung des Typ 3 Volkswagen 1500 Variant (in Nordamerika als “Squareback” bekannt).  Im Dezember 1962 wurden täglich weltweit 3,330 VW-Käfer produziert.  Im Modelljahr 1962 (1963 in Nordamerika) entfiel das Wolfsburger Wappen auf der Fronthaube des VW Käfer.  Im Jahre 1963 (1964 in Nordamerika) wurde das Faltdach  beim Käfer Exportmodell eingestellt, und der Dachausschnitt wurde für ein Stahlkurbeldach verkleinert, das auf Wunsch lieferbar war.

1963 Model Year

1963 witnessed a temporary decline in annual Type 1 Beetle sales to 838,000 new cars. But the Type 2 Microbus saw yet another record year with 189,000 new unit sales, as did the Type 3 Notchback Sedan/Squareback Wagon/Razor Edge Karmann Ghia Coupé models with 181,000 units sold. The new Type 3 Variant was marketed as the “Squareback” in theUnited StatesandCanada. The Wolfsburg Hood Crest was discontinued from the Beetle in 1963, because it had proven too popular among teenagers. They would often steal them from the cars, and use the good-looking Volkswagen Hood Crest as a belt buckle.

1964 Model Year

1964 was another very good year for Volkswagen. Worldwide deliveries to customers increased yet again to 948,000 Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias, 200,000 Type 2 Microbuses and 262,000 Type 3 passenger cars. The Type 1 Beetle received a larger license plate light on the rear engine lid. The Type 3 range received yet another addition in 1964, this being the Type 3 Fastback Sedan. The new car received an even larger engine, as did the Type 3 Razor Edge Karmann-Ghia Coupé. This was the 1,584 ccm (cubic centimeter) Type 3 “pancake” engine, which produced 65 BHP (brake horsepower) and which had a top speed of 84 miles per hour. This was Volkswagen’s largest and most powerful engine to date. The Type 3 Notchback and Fastback Sedans were about equally popular in worldwide sales, while the Type 3 Squareback Wagon was the most popular body style within the Type 3 range. 43% of all Type 3 cars were Squarebacks, 29% were Fastback Sedans, 27% were Notchback Sedans and 1% were Razor Edge Karmann-Ghia Coupés. This made good sense, because the wagon was the most practical of them all.  At least two relatives of mine purchased a Volkswagen Squareback when the car was new to the market.

Im Jahre 1964 (1965 in Nordamerika) wurde das Heckfenster oben um 20 Millimeter erhöht und seitlich um zehn Millimeter ausgedehnt.  Vergrößert wurden auch Tür-und Drehfenster; geringere Querschnitte des Türfensterrahmens machten das möglich.  Der Steg zwischen Drehfenster und Türfenster stand nicht mehr senkrecht, sondern schräg.  Die Windschutzscheibe des Käfers reichte 28 Millimeter weiter in das Dach, und war nun leicht gewölbt.  In Verbindung mit der vergrößerten Windschutzscheibe wurde auch die Scheibenwischeranlage geändert.  Genau 15 Millimeter längere, federnde Wischerblätter erweitern das Wischfeld.  Neu im 1965er Programm war der VW1300, der von einem 1,295 ccm 40 PS-Motor angetrieben wurde.  Beim neuen 1300er Motor wurde die Kurbelwelle vom 1,493 ccm Triebwerk (Volkswagen Typ 3 Stufenheck, Variant, Fließheck sowie das große Karmann-Ghia Coupé) übernommen.  Dadurch erhöht sich der Hub von 64 auf 69 Millimeter.  Alle für Nordamerika bestimmte Käfer im Jahre 1966 waren VW1300 Kraftfahrzeuge.  Der Käfer bekam auch flache Radkappen vom Typ 3, mit Durchbrüchen in den Felgen.

1965 Model Year

1965 was a very important year for Volkswagen. For the first time, Volkswagen purchased another company. Their new acquisition was Audi-NSU, A.G. of Ingolstadt, Bavaria. They purchased the subsidiary from Daimler-Benz, A.G. of Stuttgart. Audi-NSU owned the German car brands of Audi (founded in the city ofZwickauin Saxony in 1910), NSU (founded in the city ofNeckarsulmin Baden-Württemberg in 1873) and DKW (founded by Danish immigrant Jorgen Skafte Rasmussen inSaxonyin 1916). Audi also owned the dormant German car brands of Horch (founded by August Horch inCologne,Germanyin 1899), Wanderer (founded in Saxony in 1911) and Auto Union (formed by the merger of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer inZwickau,Saxonyin 1932). Horch was famous for building large luxury cars, and Auto Union was famous for building good racing cars. DKW was originally founded by a Danish immigrant toSaxony, and their designs evolved into the modern Audi passenger car. “Audi” is Latin for “listen” in English, which is “Horch” in German. “DKW” means “Dampfkraftwerk” or “steamworks” in English. NSU came from the German city ofNeckarsulmin Baden-Württemberg, and was famous for its rotary Wankel-engined cars. The most recent one before NSU became dormant was the attractive NSU Ro 80 Sedan. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. designed the first aerodynamic “Beetle” body for Wanderer in 1931.

Volkswagen brand sales in 1965 included 1,090,000 Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias, 189,000 Type 2 Microbuses and 261,000 Type 3 cars. The Type 1 Beetle received larger windows, which one can recognize in the slimmer door posts on a 1965 model year car. The Type 2 Microbus received a larger engine – up from 1,192 ccm to 1,493 ccm (cubic centimeters).

In 1965, Audi-NSU sold yet another 52,207 new cars for the Volkswagen Group (i.e., no longer merely “Volkswagen” by itself). Audi cars bore the company’s famous logo of four inter-locking rings. These rings came from “Auto Union” in the 1932, when the four German carmakers of Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer joined forces in a corporate merger. The modern Audi most closely resembles the DKW. I am sure that many of us can remember the Audi 100 Sedan in theUnited States. This was Audi’s first big seller in the modern era. People considered the car to be a somewhat less expensive and good alternative to the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The Audi 100 we fondly remember from 1968 was a direct descendant of the DKW or Audi F102 Sedan from 1964. The F102 was powered by a 3-cylinder, 2-stroke engine in line. Displacement was 1,175 ccm (cubic centimeters) and maximum output was 68 BHP (brake horsepower) at 4,500 r.p.m. (revolutions per minute). Top speed was 80 miles per hour, and the car featured a 4-speed transmission, with or without an automatic clutch.

1966 Model Year: the 1,3 Liter Engine

In 1966, the Volkswagen brand sold 1,080,000 Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias, 191,000 Type 2 Microbuses and a record 378,000 Type 3 passenger cars. This record for the Type 3 would hold, never to be broken in the future. The Type 1 Beetle and Karmann-Ghia received the flatter hub caps which had been in use on the Type 3 line of cars ever since their introduction to the market in 1960. Prior to this, all Type 1 cars had the more oval hub caps introduced back in 1938. Since 1945, they had been made of chrome. Up to 1945, they were painted in varying colors. All Type 2 Microbus models had oval hub caps as well; they were chromed on deluxe “Samba” and Kombi passenger models, but usually painted white on panel vans and pickup trucks. The “Samba” microbus is the famous bus with a fabric sunroof, opening front safari windows and many thin windows along the roof line. Most examples have in excess of 20 windows, and fully restored models can fetch over US $75,000. The Samba Microbus could seat 7 passengers in comfort. The more basic “Kombi” Microbus is so named for the German word “kombination” (i.e. “combination” in English). This means that with seats one can accommodate up to 9 passengers, and with the seats removed one can have a useful delivery van. The Type 1 Beetle and Karmann-Ghia line also received a larger 1,285 ccm (cubic centimeter) engine with output of 38 BHP (brake horsepower). The 1,2 liter engine was still available on the basic model of the Volkswagen Beetle. The chromed “1300? logo was placed on the rear engine lid of the Export Beetle.

Audi-NSU sold a record 67,248 new cars during 1966. A new model that would move ever closer to the future Audi 100 was the Audi 1700Sedan. This new model built upon the success of the DKW or Audi F102. The Audi 1700 featured a 4-cylinder single overhead camshaft engine. Displacement was 1,696 ccm (cubic centimeters) and maximum output was 72 BHP (brake horsepower). Just like the F102, the 1700 had front-wheel drive right below the engine compartment. The car had a 4-speed manual transmission and a top speed of 92 miles per hour.

Der neue 1,493 ccm Käfermotor von 1966 (1967 in Nordamerika) erreichte eine Leistung von 44 PS bei 4,000 Umdrehungen.  Die Höchstgeschwindigkeit lag bei 125 Stundenkilomter, die Typ 1 Karmann-Ghia Modelle erreichten sogar 132 Stundenkilometer.  Neu am Käfermotor war neben der Hubraumsteigerung vor allem die Ansaugluftvorwärmung: die Luft wurde durch zwei Schläuche der Kühlluft beider Zylinderköpfe entnommen und der Ansaugluft beigemischt.  Insgesamt hat der Volkswagenkonzern bis 1966 über 12 Millionen Fahrzeuge produziert (davon neun Millionen Käfer), allein in den USA wurden zwei Millionen Volkswagen zugelassen.  Die Stoßstangen in 1967 (1968 in Nordamerika) wurden wesentlich verstärkt und vorn und höher angesetzt.  Deshalb wurden auch die beiden Hauben gekürzt und die Abschlußbleche entsprechend höher gezogen werden.  Die Rücklichter bekamen auch größere Lichtaustrittsflächen.

1967 Model Year: the 1,5 Liter Engine

1967 witnessed the worldwide deliveries of 925,000 Type 1 Volkswagen Beetles and Karmann-Ghias, 145,000 Type 2 Microbuses and 286,000 Type 3 cars. The Type 1 Beetle and Karmann-Ghia received yet another upgrade in power to the 1,493 ccm (cubic centimeter) rear-mounted and air-cooled boxer motor. Output was 42 BHP (or brake horsepower) and top speed was 78 miles per hour. The Beetle also received a rear back up light for the first time. My parents traded in our 1962 Ruby Red Type 1 Beetle Sedan for a brand new 1967 Granada Red Type 3 Fastback Sedan, which we picked up on European Delivery in Germany. Many European carmakers offered this unique service to their American clients. We sailed toGermanyaboard the large passenger liner “T/S (”turbine ship”)Bremen,” which was the largest ship then owned by the North German Lloyd of Bremen. My parents drove the new car throughoutGermany,Switzerland,Belgium,Luxembourg,France,Italy,Vatican City,MonacoandSpainbefore it was shipped home toNew York City. We then drove across theUnited Statesto a new home in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. During my 20 years in Northern California (1967-1987), we lived inOakland(1967-1968),Newark(1968-1974) andDanville(1974-1987). My parents kept this car until 1972, when it was traded in on a beautiful white 1968 Mercedes-Benz 250SSedan.

Audi-NSU sold just 39,062 new cars during 1967, but I have to believe that this had to do with important factory re-tooling in preparation for the Audi 100 Sedan’s release to the market.

1968 Model Year: many modern changes

1968 marked one sad milestone for the Volkswagen Group, in the death of Dr. Heinrich “Heinz” Nordhoff (born in 1899). This great man and great engineer had lead Volkswagen from the destruction of post-World War Two Germany to become the 4th largest auto group on earth. Dr. Kurt Lotz (1912-2005) succeeded him and served as the new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group until 1971. To the credit of Volkswagen, all top executives have always been engineers. The same holds true for most automotive manufacturers in both Europe andAsia, where most auto companies are driven by engineering. This leads to superior product development. Sadly, American companies tend promote finance people to the top posts of manufacturing companies, or at the very least executives with less respect for engineering. The bad result can be seen today at both General Motors and at the Ford Motor Company, where these firms are for all intents and purposes bankrupt. They are overly dependent upon very large vehicles (sport utility vehicles and light trucks) which consume far too much energy. Their products are also “inferior” in that the companies themselves must “subsidize” their own sales with zero or very low interest financing, and with zero or very low money down payments by customers. This has turned General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler Corporation into de facto commercial banks with very weak portfolios filled with bad loans. Their financial balance sheets resemble those of financial companies more than those of manufacturing companies.

Many modern changes came into the Volkswagen line of cars in 1968. Worldwide sales for the Type 1 Beetle and Karmann-Ghia reached a record 1,168,000 units. The Beetle received stronger and higher one-piece bumpers in place of the old bumpers with over-riders that had been in use since the 1956 model year. The Karmann-Ghia kept the old bumpers with over-riders until the 1971 model year. The 1968 Beetle also received higher front seat backs with attached head supports. On the Karmann-Ghia, the head supports were removable. Both the Beetle and the Karmann-Ghia now had external fuel filler caps as well; before this, one had to open the front trunk to access the gasoline cap.

Global sales of the 1968 Type 2 Bus (no longer called the “Microbus”) recovered to 192,000 units. The Bus received a total exterior facelift and much more interior room due to the new body style. This body style was soon christened as the “Bay Window” bus inEngland. The 2-piece front windshield became a one-piece “bay window” – hence the new nickname. Volkswagen enthusiasts have never liked these modern changes to any Volkswagen model, but the changes did make the cars more practical and safer for the marketplace. The biggest improvement was to be seen on Volkswagen Type 2 camper conversions. The German coachbuilding firms of Karmann and Westfalia do camper conversions for Volkswagen, as do the British firms of Devon,Danburyand Dormobile. In the 1990s, Winnebago of theUSAjoined them in doing so. The most famous Type 2 “Campmobile” (the official Volkswagen name for the campers inNorth Americafrom 1968 until 1979) was converted by Westfalia. These featured the versatile and popular “pop tops” which could accommodate two more adults on a double bed above the normal roofline of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus. The top was made of fiberglass, while the sides and back (when the pop top was opened) were made of canvas with a mesh screen “window.” This would keep the insects out and the occupants comfortable.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 3 line remained constant in 1968 with 286,000 units sold worldwide. The front turn indicators remained the same size, while having shorter chrome extensions on the sides. The Fasback Sedan and Squareback Wagon (the latter called a “Squareback Sedan” in theUSAfor marketing purposes) received the same high front seat backs (head rests) like the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle. The same held true for the Canadian market, and for the Notchback Sedan as it was sold inCanada. Another big change for the Type 3 line was the introduction of electronic fuel injection. Enthusiasts do not like this either, and it tends to be less “user friendly” for most mechanics. But when well-maintained, the system does work well. Electronic fuel injection replaces the traditional carburetor. Fuel injection determines the optimum fuel-air mixture to enhance performance, including speed, acceleration and fuel economy.

In 1968, Audi-NSU introduced the brand new Audi 100 Sedan, and worldwide Audi sales reached a record 69,918 new cars.

Auf Wunsch wurde der VW 1300/40 PS Käfer mit Automatischgetriebe im Jahre 1968 (der VW 1500/44 PS Käfer im Jahre 1969 für Nordamerika) ausgestattet.  Die Scheibenbremsen des europäischen Käfers kamen nie nach Nordamerika.  Am 5. Februar 1968 lief der zweimillionste VW-Transporter (der Typ 2) in Hannover vom Band.  Die Tagesproduktion bei VW war insgesamt 7,500 Fahrzeuge weltweit.  Im Jahre 1969 erhielt der 1500er Käfer (wie bei dem neuen 1600er Käfer mit 47 PS im Jahre 1970  in Nordamerika) einen Motorraumdeckel mit zehn waagerechten Lufteintrittsöffnungen.  Die Zahl der Lufteintrittsöffnungen beim VW Kabriolett wurde auf 28 erhöht.  In der US-Ausführung waren Blink-und Schlußlichter mit Seitenmarkierungslichtern und Rückstrahlern ausgestattet, sowie mit einer akustischen Warneinrichtung  für das kombinierte Lenkradanlaßschloß.  Ein besonderer Rückstrahler wurde für die nordamerikanische Modelle am Stoßfängerhalter angeschraubt.  Am 6. Juni 1969 wurde die Herstellung des Karmann-Ghia Typ 34 (der “große Karmann”) eingestellt.  Im August 1969 wurde die neue Typ 4 Volkswagen 411E Limousine mit 80 PS Motor und elektronischer Benzineinspritzung eingeführt.

1969 Model Year: the Automatic Transmission & the 2-Million annual sales milestone for VW

1969 witnessed a new global record for sales of the venerable Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle and Karmann-Ghia line at 1,219,000 customer deliveries. Sales of the Type 2 Bus increased as well, to 227,000 of the new “Bay Window” units. Worldwide sales of the Type 3 line of cars recovered to a healthy 309,000 units. 1969 also marked the introduction of the brand new and all-new Volkswagen Type 4. The Type 4 was Volkswagen’s first “big car” or the 411 4-DoorSedanand 2-DoorSedan. The 411 line featured aerodynamic “fastback” styling, although the first prototypes in 1966 were a notchback sedan and a notchback convertible. The 1966 prototype sedan can still be seen in Automuseum Wolfsburg today, and I believe the convertible may still exist at theWilhelmKarmannMuseuminOsnabrück,Germany. 1967 and 1968 witnessed more prototypes, but this time with fastback-like styling. In 1967, a red model 411 4-DoorSedanwas made. This model was very large, perhaps of 1:2 scale. It still exists in a private collection today. In 1968, a silver metallic 411 2-DoorSedanwas built, which still exists at Automuseum Wolfsburg in Lower Saxony, Germany. The production 411 in 1969 was equipped with Volkswagen’s largest and most powerful rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer motor yet: a 1,679 ccm (cubic centimeter) engine which produced a maximum output of 85 BHP (brake horsepower). Top speed was an impressive 94 miles per hour for the 4-DoorSedanand 96 miles per hour for the 2-DoorSedan. The 4-DoorSedanas introduced inEuropehad an optional fully-automatic 3-speed transmission – another first for Volkswagen. All 411 cars inEuropecame with standard 4-speed manual transmissions. The 411 also featured Volkswagen’s very first “unibody” construction. The front end of the 411 featured large oval headlamps, which many people did not like as far as their looks were concerned. Total worldwide Volkswagen Type 4 sales in 1969 were 61,000 units.

The 411 was the first 4-door Volkswagen seen by most people, but not the very first ever. The Berlin-based coachbuilder “Rometsch” built a 4-Door Beetle Taxi as early as 1951. The Type 3 line of cars inBrazilfeatured 4 doors as well for the Notchback Sedan and the Fastback Sedan. InBrazil, the Fastback was known as the “Volkswagen Rio.” Rometsch also built stylish coupés on the Type 1 Beetle chassis, but far less numerous and more expensive compared to the Karmann-Ghia Coupé. Many smaller companies did this for Volkswagen as well, and the cars they manufactured fetch extremely high prices today when in good condition. Companies included Dannenhauer & Stauß ofGermany, Denzel of Austria, Beutler of Switzerland, Enzmann of Switzerland, Drews of Germany and Ascort of Australia.

The Type 1 Beetle and Karmann-Ghia received heated rear window defrosters for the first time in 1969 – something that everyone in a cold climate can appreciate. A new option was the “automatic stick shift.” This featured no more clutch pedal and 3 forward gears. The Type 3 line of cars also received heated rear window defrosters as well, but their optional automatic transmissions were fully-automatic just like in the European 411 line of cars. 1969 was the final model year for the Type 3 Volkswagen “Razor Edge” Karmann-Ghia Coupé. At certain angles, its styling has much in common with the Chevrolet Corvair, which also terminated production in the 1969 model year. The Corvair featured a rear-mounted, air-cooled, 6-cylinder “boxer motor” – this was General Motors’ attempt to compete directly with Volkswagen. The “Unsafe at Any Speed” campaign by American consumer advocate Ralph Nader was due to the fact that Chevrolet did not equip early Corvairs with “anti-roll” technology – something which Dr. Ferdinand Porsche had done for the Volkswagen since 1932. It’s too bad, because the Chevrolet Corvair was an interesting car, and it is worthy of more respect than it has.

In 1969, global Audi-NSU sales surged to a record 264,420 new cars – a testament to the soundness of the new Audi 100 Sedan’s design and quality. Total annual worldwide motor vehicle sales for the entire Volkswagen group surpassed 2 million new cars and trucks for the very first time in 1969.

1970 Model Year: the 1,6 Liter Engine

Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle and Karmann-Ghia line fell somewhat to 1,196,000 new cars in 1970, while sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus reached yet another annual record of 240,000 units. The Type 3 line of cars received an exterior facelift and saw their global sales rise to 312,000 units. The facelift is yet another change generally not liked by Volkswagen enthusiasts, but I can see how it made the Type 3 line look more modern. The Notchback Sedan, Fasback Sedan and Squareback Wagon received higher, stronger bumpers with less exterior chrome compared to the bumpers the Type 3 line had in between 1960 and 1969. The front trunk, or hood, lost its decorative chrome as well and was slightly restyled. This meant somewhat more cargo space. The front turn indicators and rear brake light / backup light were also restyled, now without chrome and somewhat larger in size for better visibility. The integrated head rests within the front seat backs were made somewhat narrower, which translated into better visibility for the driver and the passengers – the Type 1 Beetle received these redesigned front bucket seats as well.

1970 saw the introduction of the Type 4 Volkswagen 411 3-Door Station Wagon (3 doors meaning 2 front passenger doors plus the rear cargo hatch). InEurope, the 411 Wagon came with a standard 4-speed manual transmission – but it also had the option of a fully-automatic 3-speed transmission. 1970 sales of the Volkswagen Type 4 line of passenger cars increased to 76,000 units.

In 1970, the Type 1 Export Beetle and Karmann-Ghia received the larger 1,584 ccm (cubic centimeter), rear-mounted and air-cooled “boxer engine.” Maximum output was 57 BHP (brake horsepower) and top speed was 81 miles per hour. The cars equipped with the optional automatic stick shift were somewhat less powerful and had a top speed of 79 miles per hour. The Type 2 Volkswagen Bus also received the larger and more powerful 1,6 liter Type 1 engine.

1970 also marked the introduction of the very first Volkswagen brand car with a front-mounted, water-cooled engine in-line. This was the rebadged 4-Door NSU K70Sedan, now called the Volkswagen K70. This was to be an important indicator of things to come in the future of Volkswagen.

In 1970, worldwide Audi-NSU sales reached yet another amazing annual record of 316,515 new cars. The Audi 100 Sedan was going strong both inGermanyand abroad.

Zum Auftakt des neuen Modelljahres 1970 (1971 in Nordamerika) präsentierte Volkswagen ein völlig überarbeitetes Käfermodell: den VW 1302 (“Super Beetle” in Nordamerika genannt) mit Federbein-Vorderachse und Schräglenker-Hinterachse.  Durch die raumsparende Federbein-Vorderachse (“MacPherson struts” auf englisch) vergrößerte sich der Kofferraum vorn von 140 auf 260 Liter.  Das Reserverad lag unter dem Kofferraumboden.  Im Jahre 1971 (1972 in Nordamerika) hatte die Motorhaube des Käfers leicht veränderte Konturen und insgesamt 26 Luftschlitze zur besseren Kühlung des Heckmotors.  Das Rückfenster des Käfers wurde vier Zentimeter größer und dadurch erleichterte dadurch den Rückblick (außer den Käfermodellen aus Mekixo, die ab 1978 nach Westeuropa exportiert wurden).  Im Fahrgastinnenraum fiel vor allem das neue Sicherheitslenkrad mit Prallkorb und großer Prallplatte auf, und der an der Lenksäule nach rechts weisende Wischwaschhebel (1971 in Europa und 1972 in Nordamerika).  Am 27. August 1971 wurde der Fünf-Millionste Volkswagen von Emden nach den Vereinigten Staaten verschifft.  Am 1. Oktober 1971 übernam Rudolf Leiding nach dem Ausscheiden von Professor Dr. Kurt Lotz die Leitung des Gesamtunternehmens als Vorstandsvorsitzender der Volkswagenwerk A.G.

1971 Model Year: the Super Beetle

1971 witnessed the all time record for worldwide sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle and Karmann-Ghia with 1,291,000 new cars delivered to customers. This record would hold, never to be broken in the future. But not to worry, because the eventual successor of the Volkswagen Type 1 (the Volkswagen A-Class or “Golf” platform) would surpass even this most impressive record. The Beetle was joined by the “Super Beetle” in 1971, known as the Volkswagen 1302 inEurope. “1302? was a body style designation from Volkswagen, and had nothing to do with engine size. Once again, many Volkswagen enthusiasts tended not to like this change. But as always, it was done for a very good reason – because the marketplace liked it. The Super Beetle was slightly longer and wider than its regular Beetle cousin, and received an entirely new front end under the skin. The venerable torsion bar suspension used by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. was replaced by more modern MacPherson Struts. Torsion bars were used by Dr. Hans Ledwinka of Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau of Bohemia in the Czech Republic (now known as “Tatra”), and found their way into both the Volkswagen Type 1 and Type 3 line of passenger cars. Due to this change in the suspension system, the Super Beetle had a much larger front trunk compared to the Basic Beetle, with about twice as much cargo space. Both versions of the Beetle retained the second cargo area located immediately behind the rear passenger bench. Both this rear cargo area and the front cargo area of the Basic Beetle are 4.9 cubic feet in volume. The new front trunk of the Super Beetle had a volume of 9 cubic feet. The Super Beetle received bumpers with protective rubber inserts as well, whereas the regular Beetle would not have the rubber bumper inserts until the 1974 model year.

The main reason for the introduction of the Super Beetle was that the Volkswagen Type 3 line of passenger cars had failed to materialize as a true successor to the Beetle in terms of market popularity, and because Volkswagen management believed they required something of a “stop gap” product to fill this void until the eventual introduction of the true Beetle successor in Europe by 1974, this being the Volkswagen Golf Hatchback.

Other changes to all 1971 Beetles included the air vents located directly behind the side rear windows, which lead to better flow-through air ventilation for the interior of the cars. From 1971 until 1973, these air vents had chrome trim; afterwards, the chrome trim was discontinued. The Beetle line also received somewhat more output at 60 BHP (or brake horsepower). This was to be the final increase in power, due to emission controls which would soon decrease the hard-won horsepower.

1971 saw the sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus reach yet another new record of 255,000 units. This was the last year for the Type 2 Bus to share a Type 1 engine with the Beetle; in 1972, the Bus was to receive the larger and more powerful Type 4 engine from the 411 line of passenger cars. Mechanics and Volkswagen enthusiasts tend not to like the Type 4 engine. The reasons include greater weight and less accessibility. When these modern Volkswagen “experts” go for more power, they like to choose Type 1 Volkswagen engines with greater displacement. The Volkswagen factory inGermany(or anywhere on earth) never made such engines. But not to worry! Aftermarket manufacturers all over the world produce such larger Type 1 engines in abundance, right up to the present. The 1,7 liter version has a displacement of 1,641 ccm (cubic centimeters), the 1,8 liter version has displacements of either 1,776 ccm or 1,835 ccm (cubic centimeters) and the 1,9 liter version has a displacement of 1,914 ccm (cubic centimeters). These are the more popular aftermarket Type 1 engines, but in truth one can purchase such engines up to an amazing 2,9 liters in displacement. Needless to say, the large engines are real “monsters,” which produce hundreds of horsepower and are designed for racing. They have very high top speeds, amazing acceleration – and terrible fuel mileage. But then, race cars were never meant to be economy cars!

1971 sales of the Type 3 line of passenger cars remained constant at 312,000 units. The Fastback Sedan was now known as the “Volkswagen Type 3? for marketing purposes. Sales for the Type 4 line of passenger cars, or the Volkswagen 411 series, remained constant at 76,000 new cars.

In 1971, Dr. Rudolf Leiding (1914-2003) replaced Dr. Kurt Lotz (1912-2005) as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group. Dr. Leiding had previously been the top executive of Volkswagen do Brasil, S.A. de C.V., where he initiated many independent changes to Volkswagen’s model line in the developing world. Models such as the Volkswagen 411 and the Brasilia Hatchback had the famous “Leiding Nose” front end design. TheBrasiliawas designed entirely inBraziland was manufactured from 1973 until 1981 on the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle chassis. 800,000 examples were sold worldwide in Latin America andAsia. TheBrasiliawas a 2-door hatchback that of course had significantly more interior room compared to the Beetle. In Africa, theBrasiliawas known as the Volkswagen “Igala” Hatchback, and came standard with 4 doors as opposed to the 2-door model fromBrazil.

In 1971, Audi-NSU sales dropped somewhat to 282,296 new cars. The factory inIngolstadt,Bavariawas in the process of re-tooling for the future Audi 80 series, a car which would prove itself very important for both Audi and the parent company of Volkswagen.

1972 Model Year

In 1972, Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle and Karmann-Ghia sales fell slightly to 1,220,000 units worldwide. All Volkswagens received collapsible safety steering columns and hubs this year. The Type 1 Karmann-Ghia Coupé and Convertible finally received the stronger and higher one-piece bumpers, which replaced the all chrome bumpers with over-riders. The bumpers with over-riders had been in place since 1967. Front turn indicators and rear brake / backup lights were modernized as well, much as they were on the 1970 line of Type 3 passenger cars (in other words, the chrome trim was removed and the plastic light casings were enlarged). Volkswagen enthusiasts tended not to like these changes, but the marketplace dictated them for reasons of both safety and modernity.

The Type 2 Volkswagen Bus received the larger and more powerful Type 4-based 1,679 ccm (cubic centimeter) rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer engine in 1972. In spite of this, Volkswagen buses manufactured outside ofGermanyin places such asBrazilandMexicoretained the previous Type 1-based engine for their buses. Type 2 Bus output inBrazilandMexicoalone was more than 43,000 units, with more sales records being set worldwide. Total worldwide production and sales of all Volkswagen Type 2 Buses reached another annual peak at 304,000 new units.

Global sales of the Volkswagen Type 3 line of passenger cars increased to 340,000 in 1972, due to increased sales in places likeBrazil. The Type 4 line of passenger cars (the Volkswagen 411 series) sold 76,000 new units yet again in 1972 – very static sales performance for VW’s “big” air-cooled model.

In 1972, Audi-NSU sales increased slightly to 297,332 new cars. The Audi 80 Sedan (or “Audi Fox” inNorth America) was finally introduced to the market. InGermany, this car would also be the foundation of the future Volkswagen Passat series – the successor to the Volkswagen Type 3 line of passenger cars.

Am 17. Februar 1972 feierte der Volkswagen Käfer seinen bisher größten Triumph seit Produktionsbeginn.  Mit 15,007,034 produzierten Fahrzeugen überrundet er das Ford Modell T und ist seitdem immer noch Weltmeister der Automobilindustrie.  Seit August 1972 lief der neue Volkswagen Käfer 1303 mit weit nach vorn gewölbter Windschutzscheibe (der sogenannte Panorama-Käfer) von den Fließbändern.  Das Käferheck wurde von großen runden Rücklichtern beherrscht (die sogenannten “Elefantenfüße”), die auf leicht umgeformten Kotflügeln montiert waren.  Mit der vorverlegten Windschutzscheibe wanderte das Dach ein gutes Stück nach vorn.  Dadurch verkürzte sich die vordere Haube, die nunmehr ohne das VW-Zeichen auskommen muß.  Das Käfer Kabriolett entsprach in seinem Aussehen dem neuen VW 1303.  Im Fahrzeuginnern war eine neue aufprall-und belüftungsfreundliche Armaturentafel eingebaut, die mit großen verformbaren Flächen ausgerüstet wurde.  Täglich wurden weltweit mehr als 5,000 Volkswagen Käfer hergestellt.  Im Januar 1973 hat das Werk den “Gelb-schwarzen Renner” in einer Sonderserie von 3,500 Einheiten auf den Markt gebracht.  Im Mai 1973 wurde der total neue Mittelklassenwagen Volkswagen Passat vorgestellt (mit Frontantrieb, wassergekühlten Vierzylinder Reihenmotor mit obenliegender Nockenwelle, negativen Lenkrollradius und selbsttragender Ganzstahl-Karosserie).  Im September 1973 bietete das Volkswagenwerk drei weitere Käfer-Sondermodelle in Westeuropa an: den Jeans-Käfer, den City-Käfer und den Big-Käfer.  Im September 1973 wurde auch der 3,5 millionste VW-Transporter (Typ 2) seit 1950 produziert.

1973 Model Year: the curved-windshield Super Beetle

In 1973, the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle and Super Beetle received numerous changes. These included new front seats and large “elephant foot” (”Elefantenfuß” in German) tail lights. The Super Beetle received a curved panoramic windshield, and an entirely redesigned dashboard. The Super Beetle now received the official designation of “Volkswagen 1303? inEurope. Once again, this had to do with body style and not with engine size. Volkswagen enthusiasts tended not to like such changes, but once again the changing nature of market competition demanded them. Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetles and Karmann-Ghias decreased slightly to 1,206,000 units in 1973. My own Kansas Beige 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Sedan left the export factory atEmden,Germanyin January 1973. My parents purchased the car at the Volkswagen dealership inFremont,Californiaas a replacement for their 1969 Opel Kadett Station Wagon. The Opel had been a “lemon” and had given us numerous repair problems.

Global sales of the 1973 Type 2 Volkswagen Bus series broke yet another record with 319,000 units delivered to customers.

1973 was the final year for the Type 3 line of cars in Europe andNorth America. These included the Volkswagen Notchback Sedan, Fastback Sedan, Squareback Wagon and the very rare Volkswagen “Fridolin” Postal Delivery Van for the German market. Fridolin sales between 1964 and 1973 were rather limited at 7,340 vehicles. Restored examples are worth a lot of money today. They were replaced by the brand new and all-new Volkswagen Passat, which was introduced as the Volkswagen Dasher inNorth Americafor 1974. The first Passat and Dasher models were based upon the Audi 80 or Audi “Fox” models. Worldwide sales for the Type 3 line were 340,000 units once again, while sales of the new Volkswagen C-Class (Passat or Dasher) started at a healthy 169,000 new cars.

The Volkswagen 411 (Type 4) series received a facelift to become the Volkswagen 412 in 1973. This meant a slightly different looking front and rear end. Engine size was upgraded as well, to a 1,795 ccm (cubic centimeter), rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer motor. Sales of the Type 4 line remained very static at 77,000 new cars – but this was still enough to reach a record high number for a single model year.

In 1973, Audi-NSU benefited from the first full year of Audi 80 sales added to those of the already successful Audi 100 series. Global Audi-NSU sales reached an amazing record of 407,360 new cars. The model lineup featured the Audi 100 Sedan, the Audi 100 Coupé, the smaller Audi 80 Sedan (called the “Audi Fox” in theUnited StatesandCanada) and the Wankel-engined NSU Ro 80 Sedan.

1974 Model Year: Energy-Absorbing Bumpers

In 1974, Volkswagen introduced the Golf Hatchback to the European market. This was the successor to the air-cooled Beetle Sedan, with a front-mounted, water-cooled engine in line. Worldwide sales of the Type 1 Beetle and Karmann-Ghia line thus fell in 1974 to 791,000 new cars. Sadly, this was also the final model year for the Type 1 Karmann-Ghia Coupé and Convertible in both Europe andNorth America. Sales of the new Volkswagen A-Class (Golf Hatchback) surpassed the old Type 1 Beetle immediately, with 844,000 new cars sold. Enthusiasts did not like these changes, but as one can see, they were done for sound financial and marketing reasons.

All Volkswagen models in North America andJapanreceived stronger and larger energy-absorbing bumpers, which were required due to new safety regulations in these markets. A front end collision was supposed to result in no damage at 5 miles per hour or less. The Beetle and Super Beetle received redesigned front seats yet again. The Super Beetle received something called a negative steering-roll radius, which was yet another improvement in safety and handling.

Sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus line fell somewhat to 290,000 vehicles. In 1974, the Bus received a larger, 1,795 ccm (cubic centimeter), rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer-motor based upon the Type 4 engine of the Volkswagen 412 line.

The Volkswagen Type 3 line of passenger cars were now gone from both the European and North American markets, but continued on in places likeBrazil,South AfricaandAustralia. Global deliveries actually remained constant at 340,000 new cars. Sales of the Type 3’s successor, the Volkswagen C-Class (Passat or Dasher) fell somewhat to 152,000 new cars. The Dasher was based upon the Audi 80 or Fox, and was available as a 2-Door FastbackSedan, a 4-Door FastbackSedanand as a 4-Door Station Wagon. Engine displacement was just 1,471 ccm (cubic centimeters), but output was 75 BHP (brake horsepower), and top speed was an impressive 100 miles per hour.

1974 was the last full year for the Type 4 line of the Volkswagen 412 series. Global sales actually remained constant at 77,000 new cars, thus matching the sales record set in 1973.

Audi-NSU sales dropped to 289,000 new cars in 1974. The Audi 50 was added to their line in 1974. This was a very small hatchback, upon which next year’s brand new Volkswagen Polo would be based. The VW Polo Hatchback, VW Derby Notchback Sedan and the Audi 50 Hatchback were even smaller than the Volkswagen Golf.

Im Jahre 1974 wurde die Käferproduktion reduziert, weil im Mai 1974 der Volkswagen Golf (der “Kompakt-VW” und eventuelle Käfer-Nachfolger) vorgestellt wurde.  Im Februar 1974 wurde der Volkswagen Scirocco (der Karmann-Ghia Nachfolger) eingeführt.  Von 1955 bis 1974 wurden 362,000 Karmann-Ghia Coupés hergestellt, und von 1957 bis 1974 wurden insgesamt 81,000 Karmann-Ghia Kabrioletts gebaut.  Wie schon erwähnt, war 1973 das erste VW-Fahrzeug der zweiten Generation der Volkswagen Passat (der Typ 3-Stufenheck-Variant-Fließheck Nachfolger).  Im Jahre 1974 (1975 in Nordamerika und Japan) bekam der Volkswagen Käfer einen Katalysator mit Motoreinspritzanlage.  Am 10. April 1974 lief der 18-Millionste Käfer im Werk VW-Emden vom Band.  Im Jahre 1975 (1978 in Südafrika) wurde die Produktion der VW 1303 Käfer Limousine eingestellt.  Diese Ausführung mit dem langen Vorderwagen (VW 1303) wurde nur noch für das Kabriolett (bis 1980) produziert.  Die VW 1303 Limousine für 1975 hieß “La Grande Bug” in Nordamerika.

1975 Model Year: Electronic Fuel Injection

In 1975, Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle sales fell to 441,000 new cars. This was the final year for the Super Beetle Sedan, known as the “La Grande Bug” inNorth Americajust for this one model year. The “La Grande Bug” was available in one of three metallic exterior colors (green, blue or bronze) and had many extras as standard equipment. These included sport wheel covers, a sliding roof with a wind deflector, plush velour inserts for the seats, a wood-grained dashboard, a leather-covered steering wheel, a center console and a sport gear shift knob.

The Super Beetle Convertible would continue to be produced at the Karmann factory in Osnabrück until January 1980. 1975 was also the final year for the Type 1 Karmann-Ghia Coupé inBrazil. All Volkswagen models in North America (theUSAandCanada) andJapanreceived electronic fuel injection, catalytic converters, and a requirement for unleaded fuel, in 1975. This was due to new environmental regulations.

Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and the smaller Polo Hatchback) rose to an amazing 1,054,000 new cars in 1975. The Volkswagen Golf was introduced as the “Volkswagen Rabbit” to theUSAandCanadain 1975. The Volkswagen Scirocco (also built on the Volkswagen A-Class platform) was introduced toNorth Americain 1975 as well. The Scirocco is a sport coupé which replaced the Karmann-Ghia Coupé, and was also built at the Wilhelm Karmann plant inOsnabrück,Germany.

Sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus fell yet again to 277,000 new units in 1975. The Westfalia Campmobile got something of a change this year. The optional pop-top now opened toward the front, and the luggage rack was now located above the driver and co-pilot. From 1968 until 1974, the optional pop-top had opened toward the rear. The deluxe Campmobile was now available with a refrigerator instead of the standard icebox.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 3 were confined just to Brazilian production, which was 54,000 units in 1975. The Notchback Sedan was no more, so these models were limited to the Fastback Sedan (called the Volkswagen Rio inBrazil) and the Squareback Wagon (called the Volkswagen Variant II inBrazil). The last few Volkswagen Type 4 412 Station Wagons left the assembly line in early 1975 – the Sedans were discontinued before the end of 1974. Other cars which shared the Volkswagen Type 4 engine were the VW-Porsche 914 Roadster, the VW-Porsche 916 Roadster and the Porsche 912 Coupé. Total cumulative worldwide sales for the VW-Porsche 914 and 916 Roadsters were 115,000 units until 1975, and 34,000 units for the Porsche 912 Coupé until its demise in 1976.

Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat or Dasher) fell yet again to 144,000 new cars in 1975. Audi-NSU sales recovered somewhat to 299,000 new cars in 1975.

In 1975, Dr. Toni Schmücker (1921-1996) replaced Dr. Rudolf Leiding (1914-2003) as the new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group.

1976 Model Year: Metallic Paint

In 1976, Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle sales fell to 383,000 new cars. The Beetle Sedan was now upgraded to have only metallic paint. The Super Beetle Sedan was no longer available in either Europe or North America, but actually remained in production inUitenhage,South Africauntil 1978. Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo Hatchbacks) reached yet another record at 1,157,000 new cars.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus finally recovered to 301,000 units in 1976. This year, the Bus received yet another larger rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer engine based upon the Type 4 design – this time of 1,976 ccm (cubic centimeters) displacement.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 3 line fromBrazilremained constant at 54,000 new cars. Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat or Dasher) rose somewhat to 158,000 units. Audi-NSU sales increased to 302,000 cars.

Am 27. Oktober 1976 lief der einmillionste Volkswagen Golf im Werk Wolfsburg vom Band, und am 26. November 1976 lief der 30-Millionste Volkswagen seit Kriegsende im Mai 1945 vom Band.  Ab den 19. Januar 1978 wurde der Volkswagen Käfer nicht mehr in Europa produziert.  Um die noch immer bestehende Nachfrage nach diesem legendären Automobil zu befriedigen, kommt es seitdem per Schiff aus Mexiko (VW-Werk Puebla).  Der aus Mexiko stammende Volkswagen Käfer hatte eine kleinere Heckscheibe (879 x 408 mm), die in Europa in der Zeit von 1965 bis 1971 zum Einsatz kam.  Von August 1965 bis Ende 1977 hatte die europäische Heckscheibe die Maße 879 x 446 mm.  Die mexikanischen Käfer wurden nach Nordamerika nie offiziell exportiert, zwar sind sehr viele Wagen in den Vereinigten Staaten, Kanada sowie in Japan durch den sogenannten “grauen Markt” gekommen.  Nach einer Bauzeit von insgesamt 31 Jahren und 332,000 produzierten Käfer Kabrioletts wurde die Herstellung des meistgebauten offenen Autos der Welt am 10. Januar 1980 eingestellt.  Am 20. März 1981 lief der fünfmillionste luftgekühlte Austauschmotor im VW-Werk Kassel vom Band, und am 15. Mai 1981 lief der 20-Millionste Volkswagen Käfer im VW-Werk Puebla, Mexiko vom Band.  Im November 1981 lief der 40-Millionste Volkswagen seit Kriegsende vom Band.

1977 Model Year: the Last German-built Beetle Sedans

1977 was the final model year for the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan in North America, with the last car rolling off the line inEmden,Germanyin January 1978 (Emdenwas originally built as an export factory for theUnited StatesandCanada). The automatic stick shift option was discontinued for 1977 cars, but the front seats now had removable head rests – a nice feature. The Beetle Sedan would continue to be sold brand new in Europe until 1985, with their cars exported fromPuebla,MexicotoWestern Europe. The largest export markets for the Mexican-built Beetle Sedans were inGermany,AustriaandItaly. The Karmann Super Beetle Convertible would continue to roll from the factory line inOsnabrück,Germanyuntil January 1980. Total Type 1 Beetle sales were 258,000 new cars in 1977. Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (Golf and Polo platform) were a record 1,182,000 new cars.

Sales of the 1977 Volkswagen Type 2 Bus rose to 306,000 units in 1977.

1977 was also the final model year for the Type 3 Volkswagen Rio (Fastback Sedan) fromBrazil. The Type 3 Volkswagen Variant II Squareback Wagon would continue in production until 1981. Another unique Volkswagen fromBrazil, the very rare Type 3 Sport Coupé, terminated production in 1977 as well. It was produced from 1972 until 1977, with just 10,000 units having been sold over all the years, in markets such as South America and theMiddle East. The Type 3 Karmann Ghia Touring Coupé fromBrazilhad been produced and sold from 1970 until 1975, with just 18,000 units having been manufactured. The Touring Coupe was a fastback version of the old Type 3 Razor Edge Karmann-Ghia Coupé fromGermany, and was just sold inSouth America. Total Type 3 passenger car production fell to 49,000 units in 1977. Total worldwide 1977 sales for the Volkswagen C-Class platform (the Passat and Dasher models) increased to 161,000 units. The C-Class also featured a notchback sedan known as the VW Santana, and a station wagon known as the VW Corsar. The “Santana” nameplate was used in Western Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and mainlandAsia. The “Corsar” nameplate was used inMexicoandCentral America.

In 1977, sales of the Audi-NSU subsidiary reached a record 412,000 new cars. This was the final year for the NSU brand name, with the unfortunate demise of the unique NSU Ro 80 Sedan. The Ro 80 featured the Wankel rotary engine, which was yet another German invention. Mazda Motors of Japan is the other auto company known for using this unique German technology in some of their cars. Wankel engines feature reduced displacement for equal performance, but their drawbacks include higher fuel consumption.

1978 Model Year: Mexican-built VW Beetles for Europe

Worldwide sales of the 1978 Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle rose slightly to 271,000 new cars. InNorth America, the only model available was the Karmann-built Super Beetle Convertible. The Super Beetle Sedan finally witnessed its last year inSouth Africa, where it was known as the VW 1600 S. Volkswagen’s South African factory is located in the city ofUitenhage. In Western Europe, the VW 1200 LSedan(the Basic Beetle) was imported fromPuebla, México. This car had an 1,192 ccm (cubic centimeter), rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer engine which produced 34 BHP (brake horsepower). Top speed was 71 miles per hour, and it was available in 4 standard exterior colors. The Mexican-built Beetle Sedan featured front turn indicators housed within the front bumper, as opposed to the small units located on top of the front fenders as seen inNorth America. Futhermore, the Mexican-built Beetles would not be equipped with a rear-window defroster until the 1982 model year. Back in 1972, German-built Beetle Sedans received a slightly enlarged rear window, which is difficult for most people to notice. Mexican Beetles never received this particular change.

Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (Golf, Rabbit, City Golf, Caribe, Caddy, Scirocco, Polo, Polo Classic andDerbymodels) rose yet again to a record 1,261,000 new cars. “Caribe” was the Golf’s official marketing name in certain Central American andCaribbeancountries for a number of years, including in México.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus rose to a record 324,000 new units in 1978. Sales of the Type 3 Volkswagen Variant II Squareback Wagon fromBrazilfell yet again to 22,000 units. These Type 3 cars fromBrazilwere sold throughoutSouth America. Global deliveries of the 1978 Volkswagen C-Class (Passat, Dasher, Santana and Corsar models) increased to a record 172,000 new cars.

1978 sales at the Audi subsidiary (no more NSU brand cars) dropped to 295,000 units after the demise of the venerable German NSU marque from the city ofNeckarsulmin Baden-Württemberg.

1979 Model Year: the Last Beetle Convertibles

Sadly, 1979 was the final complete model year for the Karmann-built Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible. Worldwide sales of the Type 1 Beetle fell somewhat to 263,000 units during 1979. Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf, City Golf, Rabbit, Caribe, Caddy, Scirocco, Polo, Polo Classic andDerbymodels) increased to a record 1,336,000 new cars. The annual sales record set by the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle series back in 1971 was thereby surpassed, making the Volkswagen Golf into a growing international automotive champion.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus increased to a yet another record 341,000 new units in 1979. This was the final year for the second generation Type 2 “Bay Window” design in markets such as Europe andNorth America. The first generation Type 2 “Microbus” design which came before the “Bay Window” design endured from its introduction in 1948 until 1967. The “Bay Window” design was introduced in 1968, but would continue to endure in the Volkswagen factories ofLatin America. In fact, it is still built inBrazilto this very day.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 3 Variant II Squareback Wagon fromBrazilremained constant at 22,000 units in 1979. Sales of the 1979 Volkswagen C-Class platform (the Passat, Dasher, Santana and Corsar models) increased yet again to a record 182,000 worldwide deliveries to customers.

In 1979, worldwide Audi sales recovered somewhat to 323,000 new cars. 1979 also marked the introduction of Audi’s largest passenger car to date, the new flagship Audi 200 Sedan. The Audi 200 was equipped with a front-mounted, water-cooled, fuel-injected, 5-cylinder engine of 2,2 liters capacity. Top speed was 126 miles per hour, and acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour took a mere 8,4 seconds. It was known as the “Audi 5000? inNorth America.

1980 Model Year

In 1980, worldwide Type 1 Beetle sales fell to 236,000 new cars. Now, new Beetles were only available in Latin America, Africa andAsia. Mexican Beetles were still being exported to certain countries in Western Europe, such asGermany,AustriaandItaly. Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class platform (the Golf and Polo platform, upon which numerous international models were built), reached an amazing record of 1,623,000 new cars. These cars inluded the Golf, the Rabbit (the US and Canadian Golf), the Caribe (the Central American and Caribbean Golf), the City Golf (the South African Golf), the Scirocco (a Golf Sport Coupé), the Jetta (a Golf with a rear trunk), the Polo (a smaller Golf), the Derby and the Polo Classic (a Polo with a rear trunk), the Brazilian-built Gol (Portuguese for “goal”), the Saveiro (a Gol Pickup Truck), the Parati (a Gol Station Wagon), the Amazon and the Voyage (a Gol notchback sedan with a rear trunk). Eventually, the Mexicans and the Russians would receive the Gol (under the name “Pointer”) as would the Americans and the Canadians (under the name “Volkswagen Fox”).

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 also reached a new record at 345,000 units. InLatin America, the second-generation “Bay Window” Bus was still being manufactured. But in Europe andAfrica, the new third generation “Vanagon” entered the market. The Vanagon had an all-new exterior, plus a modernized interior. A 4-wheel drive version called the “Synchro” was added to the lineup as well.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 3 Variant II Squareback Wagon fromBrazilremained constant again at just 22,000 new cars. But sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) reached yet another annual record of 184,000 units in 1980. The Passat came as a Fastback Sedan (with 2 or 4 doors) and as a 4-Door Station Wagon. The 4-Door notchbackSedanversion was known as the “Santana.” In fact, the Santana is still being made inBraziland MainlandChinatoday. InNorth America, the Passat was known as the Volkswagen Dasher. The Santana was called the “Quantum”Sedanin theUnited StatesandCanada. The Passat wagon was known as the “Corsar” in México.

1981 Model Year

In 1981, sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle fell to 157,000 new cars. One improvement upon the Mexican-built Beetle this year was an electrical windshield washer, which replaced the pneumatic windshield washer of the German-built Beetles. The latter was somewhat unreliable in that it worked off air from the spare tire under the trunk.

In order to generate more enthusiasm during the Beetle’s “sunset” years, the factory inPuebla,Mexicobegan to release a number of special edition Beetle Sedans. These cars were technically identical to regular Beetles, but would have special paint schemes, special upholstery and standard equipment such as radios. Most of the special edition cars were destined forWestern Europe, but some were sold in México as well. Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class platform (Golf and Polo platform) fell to 1,435,000 new cars in 1981.

Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus and Vanagon fell to 309,000 units.

This was finally the last year for the Volkswagen Type 3 passenger car, with production of the Variant II Squareback Wagon fromBrazilending. Sales were once again 22,000 new cars throughout markets inSouth America. Global sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (Passat) platform fell to 163,000 new cars. 1981 was obviously a global recession year.

In 1981, Volkswagen purchased SEAT ofSpainfrom Fiat of Italy. SEAT is based in the city ofToledo, and Fiat is based inTurin. Eventually, all SEAT vehicles would become Volkswagen “clones” with new names and new styling. In English, SEAT’s Spanish name means “Spanish Automobile Sedan Company.” At the same token, Fiat’s Italian name translates to “Italian Automobile Factory of Turin” in English.

1982 Model Year: the “Jeans Bug” for Europe

In 1982, sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan fell yet again to 138,000 new cars. One special edition Beetle in 1982 which was exported toWestern Europewas the “Jeans Bug.” This Beetle featured black trim instead of chrome on the bumpers, the door handles, the trunk & engine lid handles, the “Jeans Bug” logo stripes on the side panels and on the rear engine lid, and of course blue jeans upholstery for the seats. Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) fell again to 1,389,000 units during this second consecutive global recession year.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus and Vanagon fell somewhat to 297,000 new vehicles in 1982.

Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class platform (based upon the Passat) fell to 156,000 new cars in 1982.

In 1982, Dr. Carl Horst Hahn (born 1926) replaced Dr. Toni Schmücker (1921-1996) as the new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group. After Dr. Hahn retired from the Chief Executive Officer position in 1992, he remained on the Board of Directors, where he still serves today.

Im Mai 1982 wurde der VW-Käfer offiziell mit einer elektrischen Waschwasserpumpe ausgestattet.  Im Frühjahr 1982 wurde als Sondermodell das “Jeans Bug” in Westeuropa angeboten, und zwar in den Farben alpinweiß oder marsrot.  Am 25. Februar 1982 lief der fünfmillionste VW-Golf im Werk Wolfsburg vom Band.  Im September 1982 folgte ein weiteres Käfer-Sondermodell, das “Special Bug.”  Es gab ihn in den Farben marsrot oder schwarzmetallic.  Am 30. September 1982 wurde ein Vertrag über Kooperation, Lizenz und technische Unterstützung mit dem spanischen Automobilhersteller SEAT (Sociedad Española de Automoviles de Turismo S.A.) in Barcelona abgeschlossen.  Im Frühjahr 1983 wurde das Käfer-Sondermodell “Aubergine-Käfer” angeboten, mit einer Aubergine-metallic Lackierung, gleichfarbige Felgen und verchromte Radzierringe.  Andere Sondermodelle für Westeuropa im Jahre 1983 waren die Käfermodelle “Eisblau-metallic” und “Alpinweiß.”  Die Sondermodelle für 1984 waren die curry-farbige “Sonny Bug” und endlich der “Samtrote Käfer.”  Am 11. März 1983 wurde die erste montierte Volkswagen Santana Limousine bei Shanghai-Volkswagen fertiggestellt.  Heutzutage arbeiten die chinesischen Autohersteller FAW (First Automotive Works) und SAIC-Nanjing mit der Volkswagen A.G. eng zusammen.

1983 Model Year: the “Aubergine Beetle” and “Ice Blue Metallic Beetle” for Europe

Worldwide deliveries of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan fell to 119,000 new cars during 1983. Special editions of the Beetle exported from México toWestern Europein 1983 included the “Aubergine Beetle” (3,300 units) and the “Ice Blue Metallic Beetle” (2,000 units). At a slightly higher retail price, the customer received a special edition car with unique metallic paint (i.e., not a standard color), special upgraded upholstery (of a unique, non-standard color, and often with velour trim), chromed wheel rings and a radio. “Aubergine” is French for “egg plant” – this special edition Beetle Sedan featured dark brown metallic paint.

Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) fell slightly to 1,378,000 new cars during this third consecutive recession year.

Global sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus and Vanagon fell somewhat to 295,000 new vehicles in 1983. The Vanagon received a major technical change this year, with a water-cooled boxer motor replacing the venerable air-cooled boxer engine. Displacement fell slightly to 1,915 ccm (cubic centimeters), but performance was actually superior – higher top speed, faster acceleration, more horsepower and less pollution. The only auto company still manufacturing air-cooled engines today is Tatra of theCzechRepublic. They build air-cooled V-engines for their large diesel trucks. Output of the large Tatra 815-series 8,2-ton commercial trucks is about 1,600 units per year today. The only auto companies still building water-cooled boxer-engine cars are Porsche, A.G. of Germany and Fuji-Subaru ofJapan. Porsche builds the 911, Carrera and Boxter sports cars. Fuji-Subaru (which is now a subsidiary of Toyota Motors of Japan) builds passenger cars. Some Volkswagen enthusiasts have actually converted VW Vanagon buses to use the more powerful Subaru engines with good success. Fuji-Subaru ofJapanmanufactures about 587,000 new cars per year today, whereas Porsche, A.G. builds about 98,000 sports cars and the “Cayenne” sport utility vehicle (SUV), which rides upon the same platform as the Volkswagen Touareg and the Audi Q7 SUVs.

Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat-based platform) fell just a little bit to 155,000 units in 1983.

1984 Model Year: the “Velvet Red” Beetle for Europe

In 1984, new unit sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan fell slightly to 118,000 cars. The “Ice Blue Metallic Beetle” was offered again this year (1,800 more cars) as was the “Velvet Red Beetle” (3,500 cars). I have provided an Internet link to a German site on the latter model, known as the “Samtroter Käfer” in German. You will find the link at the very bottom of this article. Sales of the 1984 Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) increased slightly to 1,397,000 new cars.

1984 worldwide sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus and Vanagon recovered as well, to 299,000 new vehicles.

Sales of the 1984 Volkswagen C-Class (Passat platform) rose to 157,000 new cars.

1985 Model Year: the last Beetles for Europe

1985 marked the end of air-cooled Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedans inEurope, when the last cars were imported from México. These were the 2,400 special edition dark-gray metallic “Jubilee Beetles,” which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Volkswagen V1 prototype of 1935. Total worldwide sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle fell to 86,000 new cars in 1985, but sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) increased to a very healthy 1,544,000 new cars. 1985 also marked the debut of the second generation Volkswagen Golf, which received a facelift, more power and more interior room. The second-generation Volkswagen Golf platform is still manufactured today by Volkswagen’s wholly-owned S.E.A.T. subsidiary inBarcelona,Spain. All S.E.A.T. vehicles are in fact Volkswagen “clones” with unique styling and trim to differentiate them from the VW brand.

1985 sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus and Vanagon increased to 326,000 new vehicles, and sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) increased to 173,000 new cars.

Im Jahre 1985 wurden die letzten 2,400 in Puebla, Mexiko hergestellten besonderen “Jubiläums” Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen offiziell nach Westeuropa (Deutschland, Österreich und Italien) exportiert.  Der mit luftgekühlten Motor hergestellte Käfer wurde bis 2004 für Mexiko selbst und auch für den sogenannten “grauen Markt” in Westeuropa, Nordamerika und Japan produziert.  Im Jahre 1985 wurden insgesamt 86,000 Käfer und im Jahre 1986 wurden nur 46,000 neue Käfer Limousinen in Mexiko hergestellt.

1986 Model Year

Sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan fell to just 46,000 new cars in 1986, with most cars being sold in México. The Mexican market Beetle featured the 1,584 ccm (cubic centimeter) rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer engine, which produced 44 BHP (brake horsepower). Worldwide sales of the 1986 Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platforms) reached a record 1,768,000 new cars in 1986.

1986 sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus and Vanagon also reached a record 367,000 new vehicles around the world. The Vanagon received an even larger 2,1 liter “water boxer” engine in 1986, with total output rated at 95 BHP (brake horsepower).

Global sales of the 1986 Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) reached a record 197,000 new cars.

1987 Model Year

Total worldwide sales of the 1987 Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan fell to a paltry 17,000 new cars in 1987, with most cars being sold in the Mexican market. Sales of the 1987 Volkswagen A-Class (Golf and Polo platform) fell slightly to 1,764,000 new cars.

Sales of the 1987 Volkswagen Type 2 Bus and Vanagon fell very slightly to 366,000 new vehicles, and worldwide deliveries of the 1987 Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) remained constant at 197,000 new cars.

Im Jahre 1987 wurden nur 17,000 luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen verkauft, aber 1,764,000 Volkswagen Kleinwagen (das heißt Kraftfahrzeuge auf dem VW-Golf und auf dem VW-Polo Fahrgestell) wurden weltweit verkauft.  Im Jahre 1988 wurde das neue D-Klassenfahrgestell eingeführt.  Zuerst war es nur die Audi A8 Luxuslimousine, aber eventuell auch der Volkswagen Phaeton aus Dresden in Sachsen und die Luxuswagen von Bentley aus Crewe, England.

1988 Model Year: debut of the D-Class Platform

1988 sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan increased marginally to 19,000 new cars, with most sales once again remaining in México. But global deliveries of the 1988 Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) increased to a record 1,810,000 new cars.

Worldwide sales of the 1988 Type 2 Volkswagen Bus and Vanagon also increased to a record 375,000 new vehicles. The Type 2 “Bay Window” Bus fromMexicoreceived a major technical change in 1988: a rear-mounted, water-cooled engine in line. This was a 1,8 liter engine with total output of 71 BHP (brake horsepower). The “Bay Window” Bus now had a large black plastic grille up front, but aside from this it remained true to form.

Sales of the 1988 Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) increased to a record 202,000 new cars. 1988 also marked the debut of the Volkswagen D-Class platform, albeit just within the Audi brand for the time being. This was the very large and luxurious Audi A8 Sedan – Volkswagen’s first world-class luxury sedan. Eventually, the VW brand would offer the Volkswagen Phaeton on this same platform. Today, all new Bentley cars also use the Volkswagen D-Class platform. 1988 sales of the Audi A8 Sedan were 21,000 new cars.

1989 Model Year

In 1989, sales of the venerable Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle Sedan finally increased to 32,000 new cars. Most of these were within the Mexican market, where the Beetle remained popular as both an economy car and as a taxi. Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class platform (the Golf and Polo platform) rose to a record 1,869,000 new cars in 1989.

1989 sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus and Vanagon also reached a new record of 385,000 vehicles worldwide. 58,000 of these came from factories in México andBrazil.

Sales of the 1989 Volkswagen C-Class platform (based upon the Passat) reached a record 208,000 new cars. Sales of the 1989 Audi A8 luxury car (the D-Class platform) remained constant at 21,000 units.

Im Jahre 1989 fand der luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer aus Mexiko weltweit 32,000 neue Kunden.  Der VW-Kleinwagen der neuen Generation (der Volkswagen Golf und der Volkswagen Polo) fand weltweit 1,869,000 neue Kunden – nochmals ein Rekordumsatz für Wolfsburg.  Im Jahre 1990 wurden zum ersten Mal weltweit mehr als drei Millionen neue Volkswagen Kraftfahrzeuge verkauft.  Der “alte” luftgekühlte Käfer aus Puebla, Mexiko fand im Jahre 1990 84,000 neue Käufer.  Im Jahre 1990 hat Volkswagen A.G. Skoda aus Böhmen in Tschechien gekauft.  Die neue Tochtergesellschaft der Gruppe Volkswagen wurde im Jahre 1859 gegründet, und hat ihr erstes Auto im Jahre 1895 gebaut.

1990 Model Year: the 3-million annual sales milestone for VW

1990 was a good year for the Volkswagen Group, with annual sales surpassing the 3-million unit mark for the very first time. Even sales of the venerable Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan from México surged to 84,000 new cars in 1990. I remember seeing a brand new 1990 Beetle at a VW dealership, red in color and with factory air-conditioning, while on a trip toPuerto Vallarta,Mexico. Global sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) reached an amazing record 1,934,000 new cars in 1990.

Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus and Vanagon also reached a brand new record at 399,000 units. Of these, 60,000 came from the VW factories inBraziland México. I remember seeing the brand new 1990 VW “Bay Window” Bus at the dealership inPuerto Vallarta, México. This was also red in color. No taxi built by an American or Japanese car company could compare to the comfort of the VW Bus on those extremely tough cobblestone streets inPuerto Vallarta.

Due to an expanded model lineup, sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (based upon the Passat platform) surged to an incredible 707,000 new cars in 1990. How did this tremendous success occur? The third generation Passat was introduced to the market in both Europe andNorth America. This was a larger, more luxurious and more powerful car. The second generation Passat remained in production in large Volkswagen plants inBrazil(Sao Bernardo do Campo) and MainlandChina(Shanghai), where they are still manufactured to this very day. The second generation Passat Sedan was known as the “Quantum” in North America and is known as the “Santana” in South America andAsia. The station wagon version was called the “Corsar” inLatin America. Furthermore, a minivan was introduced to the European market, called the Volkswagen “Sharan.” Today, the SEAT “Alhambra” minivan fromSpainshares the same platform, as does the Skoda “Superb” passenger car from theCzechRepublic.

In 1990, Volkswagen purchased Skoda of theCzechRepublic. Skoda has built automobiles since 1895, but they have beenBohemia’s largest industrial concern since 1859. The Skoda “Fabia” and “Octavia” models are built upon the Volkswagen A-Class platform (the Golf and the Polo). Seat models built on the A-Class platform include the Seat Toledo, the Seat Ibiza hatchback and the Seat Cordoba sedan & wagon. The Seat Cordoba also forms the basis for the modern Volkswagen Derby Sedan fromMexico, and was known as the Volkswagen Polo Classic in thePhilippines.

1991 Model Year

In 1991, sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan rose again to 85,000 new cars, while worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) rose to an incredible record 2,158,000 new cars.

Sales of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus and Vanagon also rose to an amazing record 406,000 new vehicles. Worldwide deliveries of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) rose yet again to a record 723,000 new cars and minivans. Sales of the large D-Class platform (the luxurious Audi A8 Sedan) remained constant at 21,000 new cars.

Im Jahre 1991 wurden 85,000 luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen in Puebla, Mexiko hergestellt, und der Gesamtumsatz des VW-Kleinwagens der zweiten Generation (der Volkswagen Golf und der Volkswagen Polo) war 2,158,000 Wagen – noch ein Verkaufsrekord für Volkswagen A.G.  Im Jahre 1992 wurden weltweit zum ersten Mal mehr als 4 Millionen Volkswagen Kraftfahrzeuge verkauft.  Am Ende des Jahres 1992 wurde Dr. Ferdinand Piëch (geboren 1937) Vorstandsvorsitzender von Volkswagen A.G.  Dr. Carl Horst Hahn (Jahrgang 1926) und Dr. Piëch sind heute noch Vorstandsmitglieder der Volkswagen A.G.

1992 Model Year: the Rise of Ferdinand Piëch & the 4-million annual sales milestone for VW

In 1992, Dr. Carl Horst Hahn (born in 1926) retired from the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group, but he retained a seat on the Board of Directors – which he still has today. The new Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group at the end of 1992 until 2002 was Dr. Ferdinand Piëch (born in 1937), a grandson of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. (1875-1951). After his retirement, he would remain on the Board of Directors, where he continues to exert a tremendous amount of influence to this very day. In fact, it is under his leadership that Porsche, A.G. seeks to acquire a majority of shares within Volkswagen, A.G.

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. is of course the man who designed the original Volkswagen Beetle in 1931. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch is a son of Louise Porsche Piëch (1904-1999), an elder sister of Dr. Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, Jr. (1909-1998).  Volkswagen, A.G. now owns about 49% of Porsche, A.G., and the extended Porsche and Piëch families still control 51% of the voting stock within Porsche, A.G. of Stuttgart, Germany (roughly 32% for the Porsche family and 19% for the Porsche-Piëch branch of the Porsche family – the eldest members of the respective family branches being each other’s first degree cousins). Porsche, A.G. in turn owns 51% of the voting stock within Volkswagen, A.G. of Wolfsburg, Germany – making them VW’s largest single shareholder. The State of Lower Saxony (which took ownership of VW from the British military government in 1948) still owns 20% of Volkswagen, A.G., the nation of Qatar in the Middle East owns 17%, Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) owns 4% and the VW employees (through their labor union) own 2% of the voting shares within Volkswagen, A.G.

The old air-cooled Volkswagens have long been “cult cars” inSouthern California. “Hot VWs” magazine is still based there, and the “Cal Look” Volkswagens hail from metropolitanLos Angeles. Many VW conversion kits, such as Dune Buggies, also come from the Golden State of California.

Sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan rose again to 86,000 new cars in 1992. Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platforms) increased to yet another impressive record of 2,399,000 new cars.

Worldwide sales of the 1992 Type 2 Volkswagen Bus and Vanagon light trucks also rose to a record high 447,000 new vehicles. Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (VW Passat, VW Santana, VW Sharan, Audi A4, Audi A6, Seat Alhambra and Skoda Superb models) increased to a record 806,000 new vehicles. Sales of the Volkswagen D-Class (the Audi A8 Sedan) also reached a record high 22,000 new cars in 1992.

1992 was a wonderful year for the Volkswagen Group, with total annual sales surpassing the 4-million mark for the very first time in their history.

1993 Model Year: debut of the VW Eurovan Bus

In 1993, sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan increased to 99,000 new cars. The Mexican-built Beetle finally received electronic fuel injection and a catalytic converter, something which German Export Beetles destined for markets in theUnited States,CanadaandJapanreceived back in 1975. This change also necessitated the use of one large tailpipe, replacing the dual tailpipes in use since 1956 (a change the German Export Beetles received in 1975).

Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) fell to 2,087,000 new cars. 1993 marked the introduction of the third generation Golf and Jetta models. As always, the new generation was more spacious, more powerful and more economical. The first generation Golf remains in production only inUitenhage,South Africa, known there as the “City Golf.” The second generation A-Class platform is produced by Volkswagen’s wholly-owned S.E.A.T. subsidiary, which is based inBarcelona,Spain. It is used for the new S.E.A.T. Toledo model.

Global sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen light trucks fell to 395,000 new vehicles in 1993. This year marked the introduction of the 4th generation Volkswagen Transporter, known as the “Eurovan” inNorth America. The second generation “Bay Window” Volkswagen Bus remained in production in bothBraziland México, comprising 59,000 of the 395,000 VW light trucks sold in 1993. The third generation “Vanagon” remained in production inSouth Africa. As always, the new Volkswagen Eurovan was an improvement in comfort, power, performance and safety. It featured a front-mounted, water-cooled, 5-cylinder engine in line. It had front wheel drive, with the engine located above the drive wheels – a typical Volkswagen engineering feature. Engine capacity was 2,5 liters and output was 109 BHP (brake horsepower). Some people also referred to the new Eurovan as the Volkswagen “B-Class” platform.

Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (Passat platform) fell to just 698,000 new cars in 1993, and sales of the Volkswagen D-Class (the Audi A8 Sedan) fell to 21,000 new cars.

Im Jahre 1993 fand der luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer aus Mexiko weltweit 99,000 neue Kunden.  Der mexikanische Käfer wurde zum ersten Mal mit einer Kraftstoff-Einspritzanlage ausgestattet, genau wie die nach Nordamerika und Japan exportierten Käfer aus Deutschland zwischen 1975 und 1979.  Im Jahre 1993 wurden die Volkswagen Golf und Jetta (auch Vento oder Bora genannt) der dritten Generation eingeführt, sowie der Volkswagen Transporter der vierten Generation (in Nordamerika als “Eurovan” bekannt).  Zum ersten Mal hatte der neue VW-Transporter keinen Heckboxermotor, sondern einen Linienzylindermotor vorne mit Frontradantrieb.  Im Jahre 1994 wurden weltweit 115,000 neue luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen aus Puebla, Mexiko gekauft.

1994 Model Year

In 1994, sales of the venerable Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan rose to a healthy 115,000 new cars. Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) increased to 2,145,000 new vehicles.

Sales of Type 2 Volkswagen light trucks (the Brazilian Kombi, the Mexican Combi, the South African Vanagon “Volksie Bus” and the new Eurovan) climbed to 404,000 new units in 1994.

Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the VW Passat, the VW Santana, the VW Sharan, the Audi A4, the Audi A6, the Seat Alhambra and the Skoda Superb) increased to 698,000 new vehicles in 1994.

Sales of the Volkswagen D-Class (the Audi A8 Sedan) rose to a very healthy 30,000 new cars in 1994.

1995 Model Year: the last “chromed” Type 1 Beetle

In 1995, sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan fell to 59,000 new cars. This was the final year for exterior chrome on the old style Beetle. The chrome was to be found on the door handles, the handles for both the front trunk and the rear engine lid, and on the bumpers. Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and the Polo platform with their many variants) rose to an incredible annual record of 2,468,000 new cars in 1995.

Sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen Bus with its many variants (the 2nd generation “Bay Window” Bus from Brazil & México, the 3rd generation “Vanagon” fromSouth Africaand the new 4th generation “Eurovan”) also rose to a very impressive 458,000 new vehicles in 1995.

Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the VW Passat platform with its many variants) increased to a record 890,000 new cars in 1995.

Sales of the Volkswagen D-Class platform (the Audi A8 luxury sedan) reached a record 32,000 worldwide deliveries to customers in 1995.

Im Jahre 1995 wurden 59,000 luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen aus Puebla, Mexiko weltweit verkauft.  Zum letzten Mal wurde der Heckboxermotor-Käfer mit Chromschmuck ausgestattet.  Im Jahre 1995 fand der VW-Kleinwagen der neuen Generation (der Volkswagen Golf und der Volkswagen Polo) einen Rekord 2,468,000 Käufer.  Weltverkaufe des Mittelklasse-VW (Passat, Audi A4 und Audi A6) erreichte einen neuen Rekordumsatz von 890,000 Wagen.  Im Jahre 1996 wurde die luftgekühlte VW-Käfer Produktion in Brasilien eingestellt.  Die VW-Kraftwagen in Brasilien sind entweder mit Benzin- oder Alkohol-Motoren ausgestattet.  Die Alkoholmotoren aus Brasilien sind sauberer und auch etwas stärker.  Der 1,584 ccm Heckboxermotor hatte 59 PS (im Gegensatz zum Benzinmotor, der nur 44 PS Leistung hatte).  Im Jahre 1996 wurden nur 40,000 luftgekühlte VW-Käfer in Mexiko gebaut.

1996 Model Year: the last Brazilian Type 1 Beetles

1996 marked the end of Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan production inBrazil. These particular Beetles were available with either gasoline or alcohol (i.e., sugar cane-based Ethanol) engines. Displacement was 1,584 ccm (cubic centimeters), and output was 44 BHP (brake horsepower) for the gasoline engine or 59 BHP (brake horsepower) for the alcohol engine. The latter version gave the air-cooled Beetle its highest top speed ever at 87 miles per hour. Volkswagen do Brasil, S.A. de C.V. had previously discontinued the 1,493 ccm (cubic centimeter) Type 1 engine at its main Brazilian plant in 1985 and the 1,285 ccm (cubic centimeter) Type 1 engine at its Peruvian factory in 1987.

Worldwide sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan thus fell to 40,000 new cars in 1996. The 1996 Mexican-built Beetles replaced the chrome trim on the bumpers, the door handles, the front trunk handle and the rear engine lid handle. The bumpers were now body color, whereas the handles were finished in black plastic. The hub caps remained chromed. The Type 1 Beetles fromBrazilhad received these trim changes in the 1994 model year.

Sales of the 1996 Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) increased to yet another very impressive 2,719,000 new cars worldwide.

Sales of the Volkswagen B-Class and/or Type 2 light trucks (the Bay Window Bus, the Vanagon Bus and the newer Eurovan Bus) also increased to a record 500,000 new vehicles in 1996.

Global sales of the 1996 Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) rose to a very healthy 984,000 new cars and minivans.

Sales of the 1996 Volkswagen D-Class (the Audi A8 luxury sedan) also increased to a record 34,000 new cars.

1997 Model Year

Towards the end of 1997, the first brand new “New Beetle” Sedans left the factory inPuebla,Mexico. This was a “retro-styled” car developed in Volkswagen’s Southern California-based design studio. Underneath, it was pure Volkswagen A-Class, or Golf. It was targeted specifically at the American market, developed to lure US customers back into Volkswagen showrooms. Some Germans have called this car a “Golf in a clownsuit,” but many Americans like it very much – it brings back fond memories of the Beetle craze in theUSAespecially during the 1960s and the 1970s.

Sales of the venerable Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle Sedan fell somewhat to 39,000 new cars in 1997, while sales of its successor A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) reached yet another world record at 2,912,000 new cars.

The Volkswagen B-Class (or Type 2) light trucks saw their worldwide sales increase to a new record 532,000 vehicles in 1997. These included the likes of the 2ndgenerationBayWindow Bus, the 3rd generation Vanagon Bus and the 4th generation Eurovan Bus.

The Volkswagen C-Class (or Passat platform) sold a very impressive and record high 1,056,000 new cars and minivans in 1997.

The big Volkswagen D-Class platform (the Audi A8) also witnessed a record 36,000 new car sales in 1997.

Im Jahre 1997 wurde der erste “New Beetle” Volkswagen (auf einem VW-Golf Fahrgestell) eingeführt, hauptsächlich für den nordamerikanischen Markt.  Im Jahre 1997 wurden 39,000 luftgekühlte VW-Käfer Limousinen in Puebla, Mexiko hergestellt.  Der Gesamtumsatz des VW-Kleinwagens der neuen Generation (VW Golf und VW Polo) erreichte einen neuen Rekordumsatz von 2,912,000 Wagen, genauso wie der VW-Mittelklassenwagen der neuen Generation (Passat, Audi A4 und Audi A8) mit einem Rekordumsatz von 1,056,000 Wagen.  Im Jahre 1998 verkaufte Volkswagen A.G. zum ersten Mal mehr als 5 Millionen neuen Kraftwagen weltweit.  Im Jahre 1998 hat Volkswagen Bentley (aus Crewe in England) und Bugatti (aus Elsaß) erworben.

1998 Model Year: the 5-million annual sales milestone for VW

In 1998, the Volkswagen Group surpassed the 5-million annual sales mark for the very first time in its history. This was also the year that Volkswagen purchased the famous luxury and performance brands of Bentley (founded inCrewe,Englandin 1919), Lamborghini (founded inItalyin 1963) and Bugatti (founded inItalyin 1900). Bugatti has since relocated to the German-speaking FrenchprovinceofAlsace, situated directly across theRhineRiverfrom the modernGermanStateofBaden-Württemberg. When Volkswagen was founded in 1935, their goal was to sell the 0,9 Liter engine Beetle Sedan for a mere 1,000 Reichsmarks (circa US $1,600). Today, their least expensive model is the Gol (or Pointer) Hatchback, which sells for about US $8,700 in Latin America andRussia. Their next least expensive model is the Volkswagen Polo Hatchback, also known as the VW Fox or the VW Tuwi depending upon the national market. This car currently sells for US $10,700. The Volkswagen Derby, also known as the VW Polo Classic, Skoda Fabia Hatchback, the S.E.A.T. Ibiza Hatchback or the S.E.A.T. CordobaSedanand Station Wagon, sells for US $10,800. The Volkswagen Caddy Van or Skoda Felicia Van sells for US $11,500. The Volkswagen Polo Sedan and the Skoda Fabia Sedan (both notchbacks) sell for US $13,400. The Volkswagen CrossFox (a small sport utility vehicle) sells for US $14,300. The Volkswagen SportVan (a small minivan) goes for US $14,700.

Volkswagen’s new rear-engined concept car being developed for the world market should sell for about US $10,000 in Europe,Australiaand North America, for about US $6,700 in Latin America, and about US $3,400 in Asia andAfrica. Bugatti happens to be the most expensive new car on the market – selling for more than US $1 million each. This means that Volkswagen truly does have products for the entire price spectrum of the global market – something most other automotive manufacturers cannot honestly claim.

Sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan increased slightly to 41,000 new cars in 1998. Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class continued to increase at a remarkable pace, reaching a brand new record of 3,257,000 cars in 1998.

Sales of the Volkswagen B-Class or Type 2 light trucks increased to a record 590,000 new vehicles in 1998, while sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) increased to 1,184,000 new cars and minivans in 1998. Sales of the large and luxurious Volkswagen D-Class (the Audi A8 Sedan) also increased to a record 38,000 new cars in 1998.

1999 Model Year

Sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan remained constant at 41,000 new cars in 1999. This year marked the introduction of the 4th generation Volkswagen Golf, or A-Class. For the very first time, there were marked exterior styling differences between the Golf Hatchback and the Jetta Sedan. Before this, the Jetta was pretty much “a Golf with a trunk.” 1999 also marked the debut of the all-new Jetta Station Wagon (known as the “Golf Variant” inEurope) – a great addition to the model lineup. Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) correspondingly reached a record 3,322,000 new cars in 1999.

Sales of the Volkswagen B-Class or Type 2 light trucks increased to a record 601,000 new vehicles in 1999, while sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) rose to a record 1,208,000 new passenger cars and minivans in 1999. Worldwide deliveries of the Volkswagen D-Class (the large and luxurious Audi A8 Sedan) remained constant at 38,000 units sold in 1999.

Im Jahre 1999 wurden 41,000 luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen in Puebla, Mexiko gebaut.  Im Jahre 1999 wurde die vierte Generation des VW-Kleinwagens der neuen Generation (der VW Golf) eingeführt.  Zum ersten Mal unterschied sich stilistisch der VW Golf vom VW Jetta (auch VW Vento und VW Bora genannt).  Die weltweiten Vekäufe des VW-Kleinwagens der neuen Generation (Golf, Jetta, Polo und New Beetle) erreichte einen neuen Rekordumsatz von 3,322,000 Wagen.  Zum ersten Mal hatte die Autogruppe VW im Jahre 1999 mehr als 600,000 Lastkraftwagen verkauft.  Im Jahre 2000 hatte Volkswagen A.G. Scania aus Schweden gekauft.  Scania ist Hersteller großer kommerzieller Lastkraftwagen.

2000 Model Year

Sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan increased to 45,000 new cars in 2000, while sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) reached a record 3,479,000 new cars in 2000.

Sales of the Volkswagen B-Class or Type 2 light trucks also reached a record 627,000 new vehicles in 2000. Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) attained a new annual record of 1,267,000 new cars and minivans in 2000. Worldwide deliveries of of the Volkswagen D-Class (the large Audi A8 Sedan) reached a record 40,000 new cars in 2000.

In 2000, Volkswagen purchased the Swedish large commercial truck manufacturer of Scania, which was founded in 1900. This complemented Volkswagen’s large truck operations very well, particularly inBrazil. The large trucks built by VW in Brazil used to be part of Chrysler Corporation before Volkswagen do Brasil, S.A. de C.V. purchased the “Caminhoes” subsidiary of Chrylser. The large VW-logo rigs are now sold throughout Latin America andEurope.

2001 Model Year

In 2001, sales of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan fell slightly to 42,000 new cars. Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) also fell somewhat to 3,441,000 new cars in 2001.

2001 was the final year for the second generation “Bay Window” Type 2 Volkswagen Bus in México. In 2002, it would be replaced by the fourth generation “Eurovan.” Global sales of the Type 2 Volkswagen B-Class or Type 2 light trucks fell to 621,000 new units in 2001. Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) also fell somewhat to 1,253,000 new cars in 2001. Sales of the Volkswagen D-Class platform (the large Audi A8 Sedan) dropped slightly to 39,000 new cars in 2001.

Im Jahre 2001 fand die luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer Limousine aus Puebla, Mexiko weltweit 42,000 neue Kunden.  Im Jahre 2001 wurde die Produktion der zweiten Generation des Volkswagen Transporters in Mexiko eingestellt.  Im Jahre 2002 wurde Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder (1948 in München geboren) Vorstandsvorsitzender von Volkswagen A.G.  Im Jahre 2002 wurde auch die Produktion des VW-Transporters der dritten Generation in Uitenhage, Südafrika eingestellt.

2002 Model Year: Bernd Pischetsrieder takes the helm of Volkswagen

In 2002, Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder (born inMunich,Bavariain 1948) became the new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group. Dr. Pischetsrieder was hired from BMW, A.G. of Munich, where he had successfully acquired the two British automotive brands of Mini and Rolls-Royce for BMW. BMW, A.G. is famous for having built aircraft engines in the past. In fact, many German aircraft during World Wars One and Two were equipped with BMW engines, including the ultra-modern jet engines towards the end of the war. The corporate logo of BMW reflects their history as a manufacturer of airplane engines, with the “turning blades” in blue and white – the proud provincial colors of their native Bavarian homeland.

Sales of the air-cooled Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan dropped to just 25,000 new cars in 2002, while sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platforms) also fell to 3,387,000 new vehicles in 2002.

2002 was the final year for the third generation Type 2 Volkswagen Vanagon inSouth Africa, where it was known as the “Volksie Bus” in Afrikaans, or theCapeDutchdialect. The latest models of the “Volksie Bus” featured rear-mounted, water-cooled 5-cylinder in line Audi engines. These were large and powerful engines for a VW bus, the largest one displacing 2,6 liters. The “Volksie Bus” would be replaced by an entirely new generation of Volkswagen transporter inSouth Africain 2003. Overall worldwide sales of the Volkswagen B-Class or Type 2 light trucks fell to 612,000 new vehicles in 2002.

Sales of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) fell to 1,232,000 new cars in 2002, whereas global sales of the large Volkswagen D-Class platform (the Audi A8 luxurySedan) remained constant at 39,000 new cars in 2002.

2003 Model Year

In 2003, sales of the air-cooled Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan increased marginally to 26,000 new cars. Worldwide sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) fell again slightly to 3,382,000 new cars.

2003 marked the introduction of two new important Volkswagen models. One was the 5th generation Volkswagen Transporter, known as the “Multivan” inEuropeand much of the world. It never came toNorth America. México continues to build the 4th generation “Eurovan” for its domestic market, while both theUnited StatesandCanadaawait the brand new Volkswagen “Routan” minivan. The 3rd generation Vanagon is not built anymore, while the 2nd generation “Bay Window” Bus is still going strong inBrazil. The Bay Window Bus is sold in bothBraziland theUnited Kingdom, where it retains a dedicated following of customers and enthusiasts. The 1st generation Microbus has not been built anywhere since 1967. Total global sales of the 2003 Volkswagen B-Class and Type 2 light trucks fell very slightly to 611,000 new vehicles. Sales of the C-Class platform (based upon the Volkswagen Passat) fell to 1,231,000 new cars and minivans in 2003.

The second important model introduction by Volkswagen in 2003 was the large and powerful “E-Class” Touareg Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), manufactured at the Volkswagen plant in Preßburg (”Bratislava” in Slovak),Slovakia. The Touareg shares its platform with both the Audi Q7 SUV and with the Porsche Cayenne SUV. Sales of the new “E-Class” SUV line plus those of the Volkswagen D-Class (the large Audi A8 Sedan, plus the brand new Volkswagen Phaeton Sedan and all Bentley models) rose to an impressive 67,000 new vehicles. The Volkswagen Phaeton did not do well inNorth America, but it remains in production for the European market. It is a fine car, and considering the price of the Audi A8 Sedan and especially of the Bentley models, it seems like a real “bargain” for a luxury car. The VW Phaeton retailed for US $67,000 inNorth America, whereas the Audi A8 sells for more than US $90,000. All Bentley models retail for well into six figures (between US $100,000 and $200,000). The Lamborghini marque (which is under the management of Audi, A.G.) sells very high-powered sports cars in the US $300,000 range.

Luftgekühlte Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen die in Puebla, Mexiko montiert wurden erreichten einen weltweiten Umsatz von 26,000 Wagen im Jahre 2003.  Im selben Jahr wurde die fünfte Generation des Volkswagen Transporter (auch “Multivan” genannt) eingeführt, mit der Ausnahme von Nordamerika wo der Touareg, ein neues SUV (“Sport Utility Vehicle” auf Englisch), eingeführt wurde.  Der VW Touareg, der Audi Q7 und der Porsche Cayenne werden in Preßburg (“Bratislava” auf Slowakisch) in der Slowakei hergestellt.  Nur 13,000 luftgekühlte Käfer Limousinen wurden im Laufe des Jahres 2004 in Puebla, Mexiko gebaut.  Nachdem wurde die Produktion des meistgebauten Personenkrafwagen (der Käfer) der Welt offiziell eingestellt.  Jedoch sind Ersatzteile für eingestellte Modelle  für noch mindestens zehn Jahre nach der Einstellung von Volkswagen erhältlich.

2004 Model Year: the Type 1 Air-Cooled Beetle is phased out

2004 marked the beginning of the end for the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle Sedan – the chassis which had been in continuous production since 1935. New unit sales of the old style Beetle Sedan fell to just 13,000 cars in 2004. To commemorate the occasion, Volkswagen de México produced 3,000 “Ultima” edition Beetles available in either Aquarius Blue or Lunar Beige exterior paint. These special cars featured chromed bumpers, chromed side view mirrors, chromed headlight rims, chromed door handles, chromed side trim, a “Wolfsburg” hood crest on the front trunk, body-colored wheel rims, wide white-wall tires, a radio and a CD player.

Miguel Padrés-Elias, whose family owns Volkswagen dealerships in Northwestern México, used to convert Mexican Beetle Sedans for legal sale in theUnited States,CanadaandJapan. He told me that the factory inPuebla,Mexicoususally manufactures full spare replacement parts for discontinued models for at least ten years after “termination.” Thus, the VW factory should make air-cooled Beetle parts at least until December 31, 2013. Furthermore, very many OEM (original equipment manufacturers) still produce air-cooled Volkswagen parts all over the world.

Sales of the Volkswagen A-Class (the Golf and Polo platform) rose to 3,423,000 new cars in 2004. But sales of the Volkswagen B-Class or Type 2 light trucks fell to 523,000 new vehicles in 2004. Worldwide deliveries of the Volkswagen C-Class (the Passat platform) increased to 1,246,000 new passenger cars and minivans in 2004. Sales of the large Volkswagen D-Class (the Audi A8 Sedan, the Volkswagen Phaeton Sedan and all Bentley models), plus those of the Volkswagen E-Class sport utility vehicle (the VW Touareg, the Audi Q7 and the Porsche Cayenne) remained constant at 67,000 new vehicles in 2004.

2005 and Beyond

In 2005, the last official air-cooled Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle Sedans were sold in the markets of México andCentral America.  A sales brochure was printed inHondurasfor the 2005 model year. A mere 11,000 new cars were sold in 2005, and enough parts were manufactured by Volkswagen factories in both México and Brazil to assemble 9,000 more new cars in 2006, 8,000 new Beetle Sedans in 2007, 7,000 cars in 2008 and 6,000 cars in 2009.  Small conversion shops and restoration shops still sell “new” Volkswagen Beetles in places such asGermanyand theUnited Kingdom.  The Volkswagen factory inPuebla, México will continue to produce enough replacement parts to assemble more than 4,000 new air-cooled VW Beetle Sedans in 2010, 3,000 in 2011, 2,000 in 2012 and finally 1,000 cars in 2013.  At this point, the VW factory will no longer manufacture these replacement parts – but many OEM (original equipment manufacturers) all over the world will continue to do so.

In 2006, Volkswagen purchased the large German commercial truck manufacturer of M.A.N. (”Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nürnberg,” which means “Machine Factory ofAugsburgandNuremberg” in English). This Bavarian company was founded in 1758 and complements the Volkswagen large truck lineup nicely.

In 2005 the Volkswagen Group sold more than 5.7 million new vehicles worldwide.  This increased to more than 6,2 million new cars and trucks in 2006 and to over 6,6 million new vehicles in 2007.  The sum for 2008 includes more than 7.2 million new cars and trucks worldwide (including Volkswagen’s major joint-venture partners in Japan MainlandChina– Suzuki, FAW and SAIC-Nanjing).  The final figure for 2009 was over 9.5 million and the result for 2010 was an even more impressive 13.9 million new vehicles.  In 2011, this is set to increase to an astounding 14.6 million new vehicles – taking into account both the increase in the most successful core brands (such as VW, Audi, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti) and the new partnership with GAZ-Volga of Russia.

Within this most impressive figure, Audi, A.G. alone sells over 1 million upscale and luxury cars and Skoda of theCzechRepublicsells more than 700,000 vehicles. They help to make the Volkswagen Group the most profitable auto group on earth – and by a very large margin over their nearest rival ofToyota. Skoda will launch Volkswagen’s next offensive into the developing markets with a small 4-door hatchback. 250,000 annual unit sales are planned forIndiaand MainlandChina.

In 2007, Dr. Martin Winterkorn (born in 1947) was promoted from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Audi, A.G. to head the entire Volkswagen Group.

Im Jahre 2005 wurden genug Ersatzteile für etwa 11,000 neue luftgekühlte VW-Käfer Limousinen in Puebla, Mexiko hergestellt, und der Wagen wurde immer noch neu bei Volkswagenhändler in Honduras verkauft.  Im selben Jahr hat Volkswagen M.A.N.  (“Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nürnberg”) aus Bayern erworben.  Im folgenden Jahr 2006 hat die Gruppe Volkswagen zum ersten Mal mehr als sechs Millionen Kraftwagen weltweit verkauft.  Die Gruppe VW aus Wolfsburg schließt die Marken Volkswagen (Niedersachsen), Audi (Ingolstadt in Bayern), SEAT (Spanien), Skoda (Böhmen in Tschechien), Bentley (Crewe in England), Lamborghini (Italien), Bugatti (Elsaß), Scania (Schweden), M.A.N. (in München zu Hause) und Porsche (Stuttgart in Schwaben, Baden-Württemberg) ein.  Dazu sind F.A.W. (“First Auto Works”) und S.A.I.C.-Nanjing (“Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation”) aus der Volksrepublik China sowie Suzuki aus Japan Geschäftspartner von Wolfsburg.  VW mit Bündnispartner aus Ostasien verkaufen derzeit weltweit mehr als 14,6 Millionen Kraftwagen im Jahr.

The Legacy of the Air-cooled Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle

When the “last” Type 1 Beetle rolled off the assembly line inPuebla, México at 9:05 AM on July 30, 2003, fully 21,529,464 “regular” or “basic” Beetles had been manufactured at factories all over the world since the birth the Volkswagen V1 prototype in 1935. But the story does not end there. 3,000,000 Brazilian “Fusca” Beetles were manufactured inSao Bernardo do CampoBrazilfrom 1955 until 1996. 1,063,963 Brasilia and Igala Hatchbacks were manufactured in places as diverse as Brazil, México, the Philippines and Nigeria from 1973 until 1981 (the Brasilia was known as the “Igala” in Nigeria, and had 4 doors in Nigeria as opposed to merely 2 in the rest of the world). 260,055 Beetle Sedans were manufactured inAustraliafrom from 1954 until 1976. 209,916 “Kewer” Beetle Sedans were built inUitenhage,South Africafrom 1959 until 1979 (”Kewer” is Afrikaans for “Beetle”). 90,785 VW 181 off-road models (known as the “Thing” in North America or as the “Trekker” inSouth Africa) were built as well. “The Thing” was a modern version of the old German military “Kübelwagen” (or “bucket car” in English) from World War Two. 2,105 Hebmüller Police Convertibles were built, too (these were different from the civilian version, and did not have conventional side passenger doors – they had fabric doors). 500 Miesen Beetle ambulances were manufactured. 2,356 “Country Buggy” (Australia) or “Sakbayan” (thePhilippines) off-road cars were also built. These were sort of like stripped down versions of “The Thing.”

Am 30. Juli 2003 lief die letzte offizielle Volkswagen Käfer Limousine in Puebla, Mexiko vom Band.  Von 1935 bis Modelljahr 2004 wurden insgesamt 21,529,464 VW Käfer Limousinen in Deutschland und Mexiko hergestellt – ein Weltrekord.  Von 1955 bis 1996 wurden dazu 3 Millionen VW-Käfer (“Fusca” auf Portugiesisch) in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brasilien gebaut.  Die brasilianische Tochtergesellschaft von Volkswagen A.G. hat auch 1,063,963 “Brasilia” und “Igala” Modelle in Brasilien und Nigeria hergestellt.  Dazu kamen 260,055 Käfer Limousinen aus Australien (hergestellt von 1954 bis 1976 gebaut) und 209,916 Käfer Modelle aus Uitenhage, Südafrika (von 1959 bis 1979 als  Volkswagen “Kewer” auf kapholländisch bekannt).  Der VW 181 (90,785 Modelle insgesamt) war der nachkriegs “Kübelwagen” aus Wolfsburg – in Nordamerika als “The Thing” und in Südafrika als der “Trekker” bekannt.  Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg hat die ehemalige deutsche Firma Hebmüller 2,105 Polizei-Kabrioletts gebaut.  Die deutsche Firma Miesen hat 500 Käfer-Krankenwagen hergestellt und der nachkriegs Kübelwagen wurde in Australien als “Country Buggy” und in den Philippinen als “Sakbayan” bekannt (2,356 Einheiten insgesamt).  “Sakbayan” bedeutet “Volkswagen” auf Tagalog (die Hauptsprache von Luzon in den Philippinen).  Der weltbekannte Volkswagen Käfer wurde auch in Peru (von 1966 bis 1987), Venezuela (von 1963 bis 1981), Malaysien (von 1968 bis 1977), Irland (von 1951 bis 1977), Portugal (von 1964 bis 1976), Indonesien (von 1972 bis 1976), Bosnien-Herzegowina (von 1973 bis 1976), Belgien (von 1954 bis 1975), Costa Rica (von 1966 bis 1975), Singapur (1968 bis 1974), Thailand (von 1972 bis 1974) sowie in Neuseeland (von 1954 bis 1972) montiert.  Im Jahre 2008 wurden genug Ersatzteile für etwa 7,000 neue Volkswagen Käfer Limousinen in Puebla, Mexiko hergestellt.

The air-cooled Beetle was produced in Brazil (1955-1996), Nigeria (1975-1987), Peru (1966-1987), Uruguay (1961-1987), in Laguna, the Philippines (1959-1982), Venezuela (1963-1981), South Africa (1959-1979), Malaysia (1968-1977), Ireland (1951-1977), Australia (1954-1976), Portugal (1964-1976), in Jakarta, Indonesia (1972-1976), in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (1973-1976), in Brussels, Belgium (1954-1975), in Costa Rica (1966-1975), in Singapore (1968-1974), in Thailand (1972-1974) and in New Zealand (1954-1972).

And as we have seen, parts and thus complete cars still come fromPuebla, México. Collectors pay in excess of US $20,000 for such vehicles. An estimated 7,000 such cars will be made in 2008. There are still almost 8 million air-cooled, rear-engined, boxer-motor Type 1 Volkswagen vehicles in existence all over the world today. Furthermore, both Volkswagen factories and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) factories still produce a very wide range of parts, including complete engines, body panels, seals, windows, wheels, upholstery, electrical and mechanical equipment.

Bargains can still be had, especially with Beetles in the 1958-1967 model year range. Restored or pristine examples of older or newer Beetles tend to be in higher demand. The same goes for any Karmann-Ghia models and for “The Thing.”

Regarding the Type 2 bus range, any models before 1968 (the “Microbus”) are in very high demand. Newer generation buses tend to be far more reasonably priced. Furthermore, if one wants to spend a lot of money for a brand new second-generation “Bay Window” bus, they are still available inBrazil. The Volkswagen Vanagon (3rd generation bus) and Eurovan (4th generation bus) are plentiful as well. More than 4 million old VW buses still populate this world, so spare parts and newly-manufactured OEM parts can still be found without much trouble.

The Type 3 range was never as numerous, nor is it as popular among enthusiasts and collectors compared to the Type 1 and Type 2 ranges. Nevertheless, the Volkswagen Type 3 does have a dedicated following (as it deserves), and more than 1 million examples still exist out of more than 4,8 million originally produced.  The total of 4,8 million units includes actual cars built by Volkswagen, and new replacement Type 3 engines still being built today.

Spare parts and OEM parts can readily be located in catalogues, as well. Some companies which carry parts include Mid America Motor Works of Illinois, Chirco of Arizona, Wolfsburg West of California and West Coast Metric of California.

The Type 4 range of cars was far less plentiful, and spare parts are thus much harder to find. Nevertheless, more than 100,000 such cars still exist. These include the Porsche 912 and 914 models. Among the Volkswagen models, the newer 412 line is far more plentiful compared to the original 411 line from 1968-1972. I have seen some pristine examples, and some nicely restored cars as well. Because they were never very popular, prices are more reasonable compared to the “smaller” Volkswagen cars.

Volkswagen Golf – Worthy Successor of the Old Beetle

Volkswagen’s mass market cars today include huge “A-Class” of the Golf/City Golf/Caribe/Rabbit Hatchback, the Caddy Pickup Truck, the Jetta/Vento/Bora Sedan & Wagon, the New Beetle Hardtop/Convertible, the Polo/Polo Classic/Derby Sedan & Wagon and the Gol/Voyage/Amazon/Saveiro/Lupo/Tuwi/Fox Hatchback,Sedan, Wagon & Pickup Truck. The Volkswagen A-Class models of Golf/Jetta in turn share platforms with the Audi A3 Hatchback, Seat Toledo Hatchback and the Skoda Octavia Sedan & Wagon. The VW Derby/Polo & VWGol/Fox share platforms with the Audi A2 Hatchback, the Seat Ibiza/Cordoba Hatchback, Sedan & Wagon and the Skoda Fabia Hatchback, Sedan & Wagon. Total worldwide production to date of the Volkswagen Type 1 (air-cooled Beetle) and its many successors (especially the water-cooled Golf Hatchback and the other models mentioned above) is now in excess of 130.7 millon motor vehicles. The Volkswagen Group operates manufacturing facilities not merely in their home country ofGermany, but in other countries around the globe as well. These other countries include Belgium, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russia, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, India and Mainland China.

Der VW-Kleinwagen der neuen Generation (der VW Golf sowie der VW Polo) ist würdiger Nachfolger des Volkswagen Käfer geworden.  Auf dem VW-Golf Fahrgestell gibt es derzeit (oder gab es) Modelle wie den VW Golf, City Golf (Südafrika), Caribe (Mexiko), Rabbit (Nordamerika), Caddy, Jetta (Nordamerika), Vento, Bora, New Beetle, Audi A3, Seat Toledo und Skoda Octavia.  Auf dem VW-Polo Fahrgestell gibt es derzeit (oder gab es) Modelle wie den VW Polo, Polo Classic (Asien), Derby (Mexiko), Gol (Südamerika), Voyage (Südamerika), Amazon (Karibbik), Saveiro (Südamerika), Lupo, Tuwi, Fox, Audi A2, Seat Ibiza, Seat Cordoba und Skoda Fabia.  Seit 1935 wurden insgesamt mehr als 130,7 Millionen Volkswagen Kleinwagen weltweit hergestellt und verkauft.

Future “Peoples’ Car” by Volkswagen: the “Space Up!”

VW is taking the both the commercial threat and the marketing opportunity of MainlandChinaandIndiavery seriously. Just asJapanandSouth Koreahave made tremendous progress in the global motor vehicle industry,ChinaandIndiahave the potential to do even more due to their huge size, large populations and industrious people. The Indian conglomerate Tata (even larger than the Philippine conglomerate Ayala) recently launched the entry-level “Nano” sedan which will retail for about US $2,500 – clearly targeted at the emerging middle class in the developing world.  The Tata Nano will be sold in retail dealers inIndiafrom July 2009, and an upgraded version will eventually be exported toEuropeto retail at US $6,000 per car.

Die Geschäftsführung der Volkswagen A.G. ist bereit ernsthaft mit allen anderen Autoherstellern weltweit zu konkurrieren.  Besonders wichtig ist der globale Markt für die preisgünstigen Kleinwagen, hauptsächlich in der dritten Welt.  Tata Motors aus Indien verkauft derzeit einen neuen Kleinwagen (“Nano” genannt) für etwa 3,600 Euro in Indien.  Der Wagen soll auch nach Europa exportiert werden, wo er ungefähr 8,600 Euro kosten soll.  Viele von den zukunftlichen Kunden in Asien haben derzeit keine Personenkraftwagen, sondern nur Motorräder, Mofas oder Fahrräder.  Die wichtigsten neuen Kleinwagen aus Wolfsburg sind die “Up” (auch “Space Up” genannt) und der sogenannte “Ein Liter” Wagen.  Der “Up” soll in Preßburg in der Slowakei hergestellt werden (die Stadt heißt “Bratislava” aus Slowakisch).  In Westeuropa und Nordamerika soll der “Up” etwa 13,000 bis 20,000 Euro kosten; in Osteuropa und China ungefähr 10,000 Euro und in Ländern wie Indien vielleicht nur 5,000 Euro.  Die Modelle, die für Westeuropa und Nordamerika hergestellt werden, werden auf jeden Fall besser ausgestattet.

Most of the potential customers being targeted by Tata Motors in India now use motorcycles and motor-scooters (such as the products of “Honda Motorworld” in the Philippines), but I am certain they will migrate to entry-level cars such as the “Nano” given the choice the very competitive price (on par with motorcycles and motor-scooters). Volkswagen will introduce a brand new rear-engined car both to the industrialized world and to the developing world – the latter will receive a much more basic (and inexpensive) version costing as little as US $3,400. The version of the car to be sold in Eastern Europe andChinawill retail for perhaps US $6,700 and the version for Western Europe andNorth Americawill sell for perhaps US $9,000 to $14,000 – depending upon model type (hatchback or station wagon), trim level and engine size. The basis for this new car will be the Volkswagen “Up” or “Space Up” concept car, with a rear-mounted, water-cooled, boxer (horizontally-opposed cylinders) engine. Engine packages will be a 2-cylinder, 750 ccm (cubic centimeter) unit, and a 3-cylinder, 1,000 ccm (cubic centimeter) unit. With new technology, smaller engine displacements will produce higher performance (more horsepower, faster acceleration and higher top speed), as well as superior fuel efficiency.  This new small car will be manufactured in the Slovakian city of Preßburg or “Pressburg” (”Bratislava” in the Slovak language).

The Volkswagen “One Liter Car”

One of the most interesting modern Volkswagen concepts for a future “peoples’ car” and for fuel-efficiency (certainly not a new idea to VW) is the Volkswagen “One Liter Car.”  The name in this case does not refer to the displacement or size of the engine, but to the fuel economy or fuel mileage of the car.  This car is made for just two passengers seated in tandem (as on a motorcycle versus on a passenger car), and has a top speed of 158 kilometers per hour, equivalent to 99 miles per hour in the United States.  Acceleration from zero to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) is 14,3 seconds.  Its fuel economy with a conventional gasoline engine is an astounding 233 miles per gallon (282 imperial gallons) – even better than existing motorcycles and motor-scooters sold by other manufacturers.  The range on one 1,7 gallon tank of fuel is an equally impressive 404 miles, or 655 kilometers.  The car is just 3,47 meters (11,4 feet) long, 1,25 meters (4,1 feet) wide and 1 meter (3,3 feet) tall.  Empty vehicle weight is just 381 kilograms, or 840 pounds.  The power plant is a one-cylinder, 299 cubic centimeter (18 cubic inch) diesel engine producing just 8,4 horsepower.  The actual production version of the car will have a slightly larger 800 cubic centimeter (ccm), 2-cylinder hybrid diesel-electric engine producing 29 BHP (brake horsepower), and fuel economy of 170 miles per gallon.  The transmission has six speeds without the use of a clutch pedal, but with a switch on the right-hand side of the cockpit.  This amazing car will actually go on sale inChinain 2010 – for an equally impressive retail price of just US $600.  The average motor vehicle (passenger car or light truck) in the world now retails for US $30,000, and the average motorcycle or motor-scooter retails for US $3,000.  The Volkswagen “One Liter Car” will likely compete against motorcycle and motor-scooters, and compete for customers who have not yet owned motor vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks), motorcycles or motor-scooters.  The business potential for this product is phenomenal.

An upgraded version of this car may reach the market in Europe, Asia andNorth Americaas soon as 2012 or 2013.  It will retail for less than US $7,000, will seat two people (driver and passenger) as in a regular sports car, will have a hybrid diesel-electric motor and will get well over 200 miles per gallon.

Volkswagen in China

The retail vehicle market inChinasurpassed that of theUnited Statesto become the largest market in 2008 – after theUSAheld the top spot for 100 years.  New vehicle sales inChinain 2010 were 18 million compared to 11 million in theUSA.  The population of mainlandChinais 335 percent greater than that of theUSA, and the Chinese consumer market is far from saturated.  In other words, most Chinese have not yet owned motor vehicles or other big ticket consumer goods.  The Volkswagen Group sold more than 1.8 million new vehicles inChinain 2010, making it their largest market in the world.  VW’s second largest market is their home market inGermany.  Volkswagen is investing US $7.2 billion inChinato increase annual sales to 3 million new units by 2014.  The extended Volkswagen Group (the brands and joint-venture partners of Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, MAN, Scania, Porsche, Cosworth, Suzuki, FAW, SAIC, Nanjing, Shanghai, MG, Roewe, Soyat, Ssangyong and GAZ-Volga) are number one in Australasia, Europe and Africa and number two in the Americas.  SAIC-Nanjing sold more than 3.56 million new vehicles in 2010 and the total for FAW was over 650,000.  SAIC-Nanjing ofChinaand Mahindra of India have since become joint equity partners in Ssangyong of South Korea.  Mahindra is a partner with Navistar International of theUSA, and Navistar is a major partner of Terex – the current owner of Tatra.  Tatra of theCzechRepublicshares a common technical ancestry with the original air-cooled VW Beetle Sedan designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr.

Tatra Automotive of Moravia

Volkswagen creator Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. was the contemporary of yet another great Austrian-born engineer named Dr. Hans Ledwinka. Dr. Porsche was born in the State ofBohemia, whereas Dr. Ledwinka came from the neighboring State ofMoravia. Both states now form the modern nation of theCzech Republic, which is still home to more than 3 million German-speaking people today. Dr. Ledwinka worked for a firm now known as Tatra, which builds large commercial trucks. In the old days, Tatra also built passenger cars. They built both mass-market cars and luxury cars, but all these cars had the unique quality of air-cooled engines. They also had the now famous central tubular chassis and swing-axle suspension systems. These great qualities were eventually to find their way into millions of Volkswagen passenger cars and light trucks.

Die Ahnen des modernen deutschen Kleinwagens sind bei Tatra in Mähren zu finden.  Der Ingenieur Dr. Hans Ledwinka stammt aus Mähren, und Professor Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. kam aus Böhmen; beide Länder sind derzeit in Tschechien.  Dr. Ledwinka arbeitete beim Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (Seit 1918 “Tatra” genannt).  Derzeit hat das Land Mähren (vormals “Markgrafschaft Mähren” genannt) mehr als vier Millionen Einwohner, wovon völlig 38 Prozent immer noch Deutsch als Zweitsprache benutzen.  Die luftgekühlten Kleinwagen Tatra 11 und Tatra 12 sind die technischen Vorfahren des luftgekühlten Volkswagen Käfers.  Von 1850 bis Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges im Jahre 1918 baute Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau 161,672 Wagen – nicht nur Kraftwagen.  Diese Wagen waren Pferdekutschen, Eisenbahnlokomotive, Eisenbahnwagen und Luxuswagen die mit Boxermotoren ausgerüstet wurden.  Und die interessante Geschichte des Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau geht weiter in die Vergangenheit zurück.   Von 1699 bis 1850 hat die Firma etwa 90,600 Pferdeschlitten hergestellt und verkauft.

Tatra is still based in the small Moravian town ofNesselsdorf. ModernMoraviain theCzechRepublichas over 4 million people, 38% of whom still speak German as a second language.  The majority are ethnic Czechs and some are Moravians (a smaller tribe of ethnic Slavs). Up to 1918, the company was known as “Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau” or “the car builder from Nesselsdorf” in English. Before producing mass-market passenger automobiles and trucks such as the Tatra 11 and Tatra 12, Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau manufactured horse-drawn carriages, railway cars and luxury cars under the Types A through U. 161,672 such vehicles were built and sold from 1850 until 1918.

Amazingly, the colorful history of Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau goes back even further in time. They manufactured and sold 90,600 horse-drawn sleighs and sleds from 1699 until 1850. Much of the industrial concern which eventually became known as “Tatra” after 1918 was sold to part of the huge Skoda Group. Skoda is the largest industrial group in theCzechRepublictoday, and is now also part of the Volkswagen Group ofGermany. In addition to passenger cars and small trucks, Skoda builds trains, railway cars, streetcars and city passenger buses as well. During both world wars, Skoda manufactured armaments for bothGermanyandAustria-Hungary. In fact, most Austrian cannon and the large guns for the warships of the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy were made by the huge Skoda Works ofBohemia.

Tatra also produced its own “Volkswagen” or peoples’ car in 1931 – a small aerodynamically-styled car with a rear-mounted, 854 ccm, air-cooled, boxer engine. The car still exists in theTatraMuseumin Nesselsdorf, theCzech Republictoday. It is medium blue in color.

Skoda and Tatra in turn own the additional Czech brands of Avia, Liaz and Praga. All of these smaller brands produce commercial trucks, while Avia also used to make airplanes. Another dormant brand owned by Skoda is Hispano-Suiza, the famed former luxury car manufacturer with ties toSpain,SwitzerlandandFrance.

The Tatra 11 – Automotive Grandfather of the Volkswagen Beetle

The Tatra 11 Sedan was introduced to the Czech market in 1919 – it featured a front-mounted, “flat 2? concept of a 2-cylinder, horizontally-opposed “boxer motor” along with air-cooling. This makes the Tatra a true technical ancestor to the Volkswagen Beetle, but this was not the first air-cooled boxer motor. Displacement was 1,050 ccm (cubic centimeters), and maximum output was 14 BHP (brake horsepower). The small sedan had a 4-speed manual transmission, brakes just for the front wheels, a top speed of 47 miles per hour and a central tube “backbone” frame. 3,500 Tatra 11 cars were built from 1919 until 1926, and a further 11,498 Tatra 12 cars were built and sold for the 1927 to 1930 model years. The Tatra 12 was different in that it had both front and rear brakes. Body styles for both the Tatra 11 and Tatra 12 included a 2-doorSedan, a 2-door convertible (the “Phaeton” as it was called), a 2-door pickup truck and finally a 2-door roadster (something of a sportier design).

Der Tatra 11 von 1919 ist der technische Vorläufer des luftgekühlten Volkswagen Käfers von 1935.  Der Wagen hatte einen zwei-Zylinder luftgekühlten Boxermotor vorne mit 1,050 ccm Hubraum und 14 PS Leistung.  Zwischen 1919 und 1930 wurden insgesamt 14,998 Tatra 11 und Tatra 12 Modelle hergestellt.  Vor 1919 und nach 1930 hatte Tatra hauptsächlich größere Luxusautos hergestellt, davon fast alle mit luftgekühlten Boxermotor ausgestattet.  Seit 1998 hat Tatra nur Lastkraftwagen gebaut, die mit luftgekühlten Dieselboxermotoren ausgerüstet sind.  Die letzten Luxusautos aus Nesselsdorf sind der Tatra 613 “Präsident” (1969 bis 1996) und der Tatra 700 von 1996 und 1997.  Die Tatra 613 Limousine von 1996 wurde mit einem 3,5 Liter Hubraum V-8 Heckboxermotor mit 200 PS Leistung ausgestattet.  Die Höchstgeschwindigkeit lag bei 232 Stundenkilometer.  Die noch größere und bessere Tatra 700 Limousine von 1997 wurde mit einem 4,5 Liter Hubraum V-8 Heckboxermotor mit 200 PS Leistung ausgerüstet.  Die Höchstgeschwindigkeit des nesselsdorfer Luxuswagen lag bei imposante 318 Stundenkilometer.

Tatra has built many interesting mass-market cars, luxury cars and large commercial trucks over the years. Their most recent passenger cars featured rear-mounted, air-cooled boxer motors and V-8 gasoline engines. Their large commercial trucks feature front-mounted, air-cooled, V-configuration engines with diesel power. The Tatra cars which interest me the most are their later model luxury cars, such as the Tatra 603 Sedan, the Tatra 613 President Series (1969-1996) and the most recent Tatra 700 Series of 1997. I see such cars as a natural progression beyond what Volkswagen built with the Type 4 series of cars, the most recent being the 412 sedans and wagon from 1974 and 1975. These most recent Tatra cars featured rear-mounted, air-cooled, V-8 engines with displacements up to 4,5 liters in size. The newest Tatra 603 from 1975 had a 2,5 liter engine with maximum output of 143 BHP (brake horsepower), and a top speed of 121 miles per hour. The newest Tatra 613 President from 1996 had a 3,5 liter V-8 engine with output of 200 BHP (brake horsepower) and a top speed of 143 miles per hour. The final Tatra 700 from 1997 was equipped with a 4,5 liter V-8 engine. Output was also 200 BHP (brake horsepower), but top speed was an impressive 196 miles per hour. In today’s prices, a new Tatra 603 would cost about US $53,000, whereas a new Tatra 613 President would cost at least US $78,000. The Tatra 613 was made as a sedan, as a coupé, as a landaulet sedan and as an ambulance (a specially-equipped station wagon). The large Tatra 700 was made as both a sedan an as a sports car. The sedan would cost about US $139,000 brand new today, with the sports car costing much more.  The modern Tatra Company in theCzechRepublicis owned by Terex of theUSA.  Terex manufactures very large earth-moving construction vehicles.  Terex is in turn partnered with Navistar International of Illinois (USA).  Navistar makes large commercial trucks and owns the rights to the historical brands of International Scout (an early SUV) and International Harvester – combine harvesters famous in the American farm belt states of theMidwest.

Austro-Daimler Aero Engine

Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. designed air-cooled boxer motor engines for the Austrian Air Force (Kaiserliche und Königliche Luftfahrtruppen) before World War One in 1912, when he worked for the firm of Austro-Daimler. Austro-Daimler was the former Austrian subsidiary of Daimler, A.G. of Stuttgart, Germany. Likewise, Daimler of England was also a subsidiary of the German company prior to the unfortunate start of World War One in 1914.

Vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg im Jahre 1912 hat Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. seinen ersten luftgekühlten Flugzeug-Boxermotor für die Luftwaffe Österreich-Ungarns (die “kaiserliche und königliche Luftfahrtruppen”) entwickelt.  Der erste luftgekühtle Boxermotor der Weltgeschichte wurde im Jahre 1895 von Lanchester in England hergestellt.  Lanchester baut seit 1955 keine Autos mehr, aber die Marke gehört zu Jaguar.  Derzeit gehören Jaguar und Land-Rover aus England den Tata Motors aus Indien.  Die ehemalige englische Marke Daimler gehört auch zu Jaguar.  Vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg im Jahre 1914 gehörte die englische Marke Jaguar der Daimler A.G. in Deutschland.  Der Lanchester Phaeton von 1895 wurde mit einem Zwei-Zylinder luftgekühlten Boxermotor ausgestattet.  Die Leistung des Wagens lag bei sechs PS und die Höchstgeschwindigkeit bei 28 Stundenkilometer.  Der Wagen hatte genug Platz für sechs Leute, und war mit einem Drei-Gang Getriebe ausgerüstet.

Lanchester of England – the very first “Boxer Motor”

The very first air-cooled boxer motor was actually made by Lanchester of England for their passenger cars in 1895. Lanchester is currently a dormant brand or marque owned by Jaguar, which is in turned owned by Tata Motors of India. Both the British brands of Jaguar and Land-Rover have recently been purchased from the Ford Motor Company of theUSAby Tata Motors of India.  The Lanchester Motor Company ofBirmingham,Englandmanufactured cars from 1895 until it became dormant in 1955.

Incidentally, Jaguar also owns the dormant English brand of Daimler – thus completing the cycle of the relationship to Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. and to the air-cooled Volkswagen. The 1895 Lanchester Phaeton (an “open car” and not a sedan) could carry up to 6 passengers. It was powered by a 2-cylinder, air-cooled and horizontally-opposed engine (i.e., the cylinders were horizontally-opposed to each other and thus “boxed” one another when in motion). The engine also featured 2 crankshafts, which revolved in opposite directions. Maximum power output was 6 BHP (brake horsepower), and the car had a transmission with 3 pre-selective speeds. Top speed was 17 miles per hour.

The Volkswagen Transporter (or Bus)

The Volkswagen Type 2, B-Class or “Transporter” chassis has had tremendous success, with more than 10 million examples having been built and sold up to November 2007. The 2nd generation “Bay Window” Type 2 VW bus is still produced in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, albeit with a more modern water-cooled, inline-cylinder engine. You can view and even purchase this vehicle on an English website at VW’s other light trucks today include the Eurovan (4th generation VW Transporter built in Puebla, México), the Multivan (the 5th generation VW Transporter manufactured in Hanover, Germany), the VW Caddy Van/Skoda Felicia Van, the VW Routan Minivan (the new 6th generation VW Transporter for North America, built in Windsor, Ontario-Canada), the VW Sharan/Seat Alhambra/Ford Galaxy Minivan, the VW Touran Minivan and the much larger “T-Class” VW LT (the Light Transporter, which Volkswagen has been building in Hanover, Germany since 1975). The VW Multivan and VW LT also have camper conversions done by the German coachbuilder Westfalia and English coachbuilders such asDanbury,Devon and Dormobile. American coachbuilders which have converted VW vans in the past include bothRiviera and Winnebago. The total number of Volkswagen Group commercial vehicles and light trucks built worldwide to date (including the 10 million Type 2 buses) is at 20.8 million units and counting. These are in all sizes, up to and including large rigs under the MAN, Scania and even the Volkswagen brand names. MAN is a German subsidiary of Volkswagen which stands for “Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nürnberg” or “Machine factory ofAugsburg andNuremberg” in English. BothAugsburg andNuremberg are well-known cities in the Southern German state ofBavaria. Scania is located inSweden, and was purchased by Volkswagen from Saab. The large trucks wearing the Volkswagen logo are built inBrazil, in factories formerly owned by Caminhoes, a subsidiary which Volkswagen purchased from the Chrysler Corporation.

Seit 1949 wurden mehr als zehn Millionen Volkswagen Transporter mit Heckboxermotoren hergestellt – die VW-Transporter der ersten, zweiten und dritten Generationen.  Insgesamt hat die Gruppe Volkswagen A.G. mehr als 20,8 Millionen Lastkraftwagen weltweit gebaut und verkauft.  Die Volkswagen Personenkraftwagen der sogenannten “Mittelklasse” (der VW-Typ 3 und seit 1974 der VW-Passat) sind auch sehr erfolgreich.  Von 1960 bis 1981 wurden weltweit etwa 4,8 Millionen Volkswagen Typ 3 hergestellt.  Sie kamen aus Fabriken in Deutschland, Brasilien, Südafrika und Australien.  Die VW-Mittelklassenwagen der neuen Generation (der VW Passat, der Audi A4/A6 und der Skoda Superb) sind noch erfolgreicher.  Seit 1960 wurden insgesamt mehr als 33,6 Millionen VW-Mittelklassenwagen verkauft.

Passat: the Evolution of the mid-sized Volkswagen Passenger Car

VW’s mid-sized lineup includes the Passat Sedan, Passat Wagon, Santana Sedan, Audi A4, Audi A6 and the Skoda Superb. VW’s luxury sedan lineup includes the Phaeton (same platform as the Audi A8 and the Bentley Sedans & Cabriolets). The VW SUV lineup includes the small A-Class VW Crossfox and VW Tiguan SUVs, and the larger “E-Class” VW Touareg/Porsche Cayenne/Audi Q7 SUVs. The mid-sized lineup of the Volkswagen Group originally got its start with the Volkswagen Type 3 series in 1960 – these cars were known by the names of the Notchback Sedan, Squareback (Variant or Station Wagon), Fastback Sedan, Fridolin (Post Office Van) and Razor-Edge or large Karmann-Ghia Coupé (not to be confused with the more numerous Karmann-Ghia Coupé and Convertible based upon the Type 1 Beetle chassis). The Type 3 series was built inGermany,South AfricaandBraziluntil 1981 – over 4.8 million units in the final analysis. They were of course succeeded by the Passat line, which was introduced to the European market in 1973 and toNorth America(as the “Dasher”) in 1974. The “Dasher” eventually became the “Quantum” inNorth America(or the “Corsar” in México) and finally the “Passat” nameplate was adopted almost everywhere. The “Santana” nameplate is still used in bothBraziland MainlandChina. Total mid-sized Volkswagen Group cars built and sold worldwide thus far (including the Type 3) are at 33.6 million units and still counting.

The Volkswagen Luxury Car: from the 411 to the Phaeton

The Volkswagen luxury lineup began in 1968 with the 411 2-DoorSedan, the 411 4-DoorSedanand the 411 3-Door Station Wagon. This line of cars on the Type 4 chassis was Volkswagen’s least successful product launch up until that time. Many people scornfully said things like this was Volkswagen’s “Edsel” (referring to the unsuccessful product launch by the Ford Motor Company back in 1958). They also made jokes such as “411 stands for 4 Doors 11 years too late!” The 411 experienced a facelift and was renamed the 412 in the 1972 model year. It also received a larger engine, up from 1679 ccm (cubic centimeters) to 1795 ccm displacement. These were Volkswagen’s largest air-cooled engines to date, but the car was unfortunately “dated” as far as the market of the day was concerned. 1974 was the final model year for the 412, with the last 412 Wagons leaving the assembly line inWolfsburg,Germanyin early 1975. Total production since 1968 was less than 400,000 units. Other cars in the Volkswagen Group sharing the Type chassis were the VW-Porsche 914 Roadster (over 100,000 units) and the Porsche 912 Coupé (more than 30,000 units). The Porsche 912 looked like the famous Porsche 911 cosmetically, but it had a smaller and less powerful engine compared to the Porsche 911. All air-cooled Volkswagen cars shared the “flat 4? concept of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr., which had been in continuous use since the NSU Volksauto concept of 1932. NSU was part of Audi, which is the Volkswagen subsidiary based inIngolstadt,Bavaria. Audi is Volkswagen’s “upscale” brand, which successfully competes with the likes of both Mercedes-Benz ofStuttgart,Germanyand with BMW of Munich, Germany. In all fairness to the Volkswagen Type 4, it was quite an improvement in both space and performance over the Volkswagen Type 3 – but not enough as far as the market was concerned. It was expected to compete with the likes of the BMW 2002, which it could not do. Volkswagen’s luxury thrust was relaunched many years later (in the late 1980s) with the Audi A8 Sedan. The Audi A8 platform is now used as well for the Volkswagen Phaeton Sedan and for all current Bentley vehicles, which come fromCrewe,England. Bentley is doing far better today under Volkswagen ownership than ever before, with 9,800 new unit sales per year worldwide. The same goes for Lamborghini of Italy, which is now selling a record 2,700 new cars per year.  More than 1.745 million large Volkswagen Group luxury cars have been built and sold to date.

Der erste Luxuswagen aus Wolfsburg war der Volkswagen 411 von 1968.  Bis 1975 wurden insgesamt fast 400,000 Volkswagen Limousinen und Kombis der Typ 4 Klasse hergestellt.  Der VW-Porsche 914 und das Porsche 912 Coupé waren auch mit einem VW-Typ 4 Heckboxermotor ausgestattet.  Bis 1976 wurden insgesamt 145,000 Porsche 912 und 914 Sportwagen verkauft.  Derzeit ist Audi A.G. der erfolgreichste Luxuswagenhersteller der Welt – danach kommen BMW aus München und Daimler A.G. aus Stuttgart.  Die Luxuswagenmarken Bentley (aus Crewe in England), Lamborghini (aus Italien) sowie Bugatti (aus Elsaß) sind auch ein Teil der Volkswagenfamilie in Wolfsburg.

The Volkswagen Phaeton is manufactured in a brand new factory inDresden,Germany.Dresdenis the capital city of theGermanStateofSaxony, which was bombed so unmercifully by the American and British Air Forces in February 1945 – when as many as 300,000 German civilians lost their lives in 3 terrible days and nights of horrific “fire bombing.”  After the tragedy of the Second World War (1939-1945),Germanylay in ruins. One of every two physical structures inGermanywas destroyed, and 7 million Germans had been killed in the war (4 million military and 3 million civilian). The bombed-out Volkswagen factory inWolfsburg, Lower Saxony soon became the most important factory in all ofGermany. Within a few years after the end of the war, the VW factory was producing almost 50% ofWestern Germany’s industrial output. Eastern Germany was still under Soviet occupation, which would endure untilGermany’s peaceful reunification in 1990.

Technical Change

Why did Volkswagen make the huge technical move from rear-mounted air-cooled boxer motors to front-mounted water-cooled inline engines? This is something which came into being after Volkswagen purchased Audi-NSU, A.G. from Daimler-Benz, A.G. in 1965. Audi executives found their way into the Volkswagen organization, and the true reason was internal corporate politics. It is not true that the boxer engine was obsolete, because two car companies make very advanced boxer engines today – both Porsche, A.G. of Germany, which has since become the largest shareholder within Volkswagen, A.G. (they own 30% of the ”voting” shares within Volkswagen, A.G., with 20% being owned by the German State of Lower Saxony and another 20% owned by Qatar) and Fuji-Subaru of Japan, which is now part of Toyota Motor of Japan. This was a disappointing change for many old time Volkswagen enthusiasts, but the consolation we have is that Volkswagen continues the hallowed German tradition of extremely high quality and of being driven by engineering as opposed to financing (a fatal drawback of the American automakers).

Die VW-Modelle der ersten Generation wurden hauptsächlich mit luftgekühlten Heckboxermotor ausgestattet, während die Modelle der zweiten Generation mit wassergekühlten Vorlinienzylindermotoren ausgerüstet sind.  Diese wichtige Änderung geschah nach Volkswagen A.G. im Jahre 1965 die Audi A.G. von Daimler A.G. in Stuttgart erwarb.  Boxermotoren werden noch bei Porsche A.G. in Stuttgart und bei Fuji-Subaru in Japan hergestellt, aber nicht bei Volkswagen A.G. in Wolfsburg.  Derzeit verkauft die Gruppe Volkswagen und ihre Bündnispartner aus China (FAW und SAIC-Nanjing) sowie in Japan (Suzuki) mehr als 14,6 Millionen neue Kraftwagen im Jahr.

Brand Histories

In 2010 Volkswagen, A.G. wasGermany’s andEurope’s largest automotive group.  The modern VW Group (the brands of Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti) sells more than 7.14 million new vehicles per year.  When one adds the vehicles made by their major joint-venture partners, such as First Automotive Works or “FAW” of China (650,000 vehicles), Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation-Nanjing (“SAIC”) of China (3.56 million vehicles), Suzuki of Japan (2.387 million vehicles), Porsche of Germany (97,000 vehicles), MAN of Germany (96,000 trucks) and Scania of Sweden (79,000 trucks), this total rises to 14.009 million new vehicles per year.  With growth in 2011 plus the new partnership with GAZ-Volga ofRussia, this will increase to 14.669 million new cars and trucks per year worldwide.  Volkswagen, A.G. and Porsche, A.G. combined have at least 401,910 employees worldwide.  The largest shareholder within VW is Porsche, A.G., itself still controlled by the Piech-Porsche family ofAustriaandGermany. The VW Group sells active brands such as Volkswagen (Germany), Audi (founded in Zwickau, Germany in 1910), SEAT (founded in Barcelona, Spain in 1950), Skoda Auto (founded in Jungbunzlau, the Czech Republic in 1895), Bentley (founded in Crewe, England in 1919), Lamborghini (founded in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy in 1962) and Bugatti (originally founded in Italy in 1909). VW’s large truck brands include MAN (founded inMunich,Germanyin 1758) and Scania (founded inSödertälje,Swedenin 1900).  VW also owns Cosworth of England, which makes engines (they were founded in 1958).  MAN in turn owns NEOMAN of Germany and ERF of theUnited Kingdom. The Skoda Group of theCzechRepublichas an interest in the other Czech brands of Tatra, Avia and Liaz. The Czech companies manufacture large commercial trucks, railway locomotives, railway cars, streetcars and aircraft.

In addition to the active brands listed above, the Volkswagen Group owns the rights to numerous dormant or “orphan” brands as well. Before Volkswagen was known as such, the German Labor Front called the car the “KdF-Wagen” or the “Kraft durch Freude-Wagen.” Translated into English this means “Strength through Joy.” After World War Two, this National Socialist era nomenclature was of course changed. The city where Volkswagen is based isWolfsburg, which is located in the Eastern part of theGermanStateof LowerSaxony.

After the peaceful reunification of Western andEastern Germanyin 1990, Volkswagen purchased the manufacturer of the East German “Trabant” motor car. This small car was powered by a 600 ccm (cubic centimeter) engine and had a fiberglass body. It was the “peoples’ car” ofEastern Germanyand sold 3 million units until it was discontinued in 1991. Its East German holding company was known as “AWZ” which stood for “Autowerk Zwickau” or “Auto Factory of Zwickau” in English.  The rights to the “Trabant” brand name have recently been sold to Herpa, a German toy company famous for making high quality “Ho” scale model cars (1:87-Scale, mostly used for train set dioramas).

Minor Volkswagen Group Brands of the Past

Other brands formerly associated with Volkswagen include “Miesen” which built 500 ambulances – amazingly on the Type 1 Beetle Sedan chassis. “Dannenhauer & Stauß” used to make a very interesting car which looked much like the Porsche 356 Speedster on the Type 1 Beetle chassis as well. “Rometsch” ofBerlinused to make limited edition coupés and cabriolets on the Type 1 Beetle chassis – today these are very sought after by Volkswagen collectors, and examples in good condition command extremely high prices. “Rometsch” also built a lengthened 4-Door Volkswagen BeetleSedan, for use as a taxicab. “Hebmüller” made very attractive Volkswagen Beetle coupés and convertibles, but their factory was unfortunately destroyed by a fire in 1953, and the firm had no insurance – hence they went out of business. Such were the hard economic times inGermanyshortly after World War Two. Another coachbuilder that made cars on the Type 1 Beetle chassis was “Denzel” ofAustria– their cars looked like sports cars. “Enzmann” ofSwitzerlandmade conventional-looking sedans on the Type 1 Beetle chassis. The Volkswagen products of “Beutler” ofSwitzerlandwere comparable to those of “Rometsch” ofBerlin,Germany. Numerous companies in theUSAconvert Type 1 Beetles for uses as dune buggies – these have been particularly popular in the large and lucrativeCaliforniamarket. Such firms include “Speedster,” “Meyers Manx,” “Baja Bug,” “Sand Rail,” “Dune Buggy” and “Trike.” “Drews” of Germanyused to convert Type 1 Beetles with sports car-like bodies. “Ascort” of Australia was much like “Enzmann” of Switzerland, as they converted the Type 1 Beetle into a more conventional car design – in this case a sporty coupé.

Es gibt mehrere ehemalige Marken der Gruppe Volkswagen, die spezielle Autos auf der Käfer-Basis hergestellt haben.  Die Firma Miesen hat etwa 500 VW-Käfer Krankenwagen gebaut.  Die Firma “Dannenhauer & Stauß” hat ein Kabriolett hergestellt, das dem Porsche 356 Kabriolett im Aussehen nahe kommt.  Die Firma Rometsch aus Berlin hat ein viertüriges Käfer-Taxi, sowie ein besonderes Coupé und ein Kabriolett hergestellt.  Der Kutschenhersteller Hebmüller hat zwischen 1948 und 1953 ein Käfer-Coupé und etwa 700 zweisitzige Käfer-Kabrioletts hergestellt, die derzeit sehr in Nachfrage standen.  Die Firma Denzel aus Österreich hat einen Sportwagen auf Käfer-Basis gebaut.  Die Firma Beutler aus der Schweiz hat ein besonderes Coupé sowie ein Kabriolett hergestellt.  Die schweizerische Firma Enzmann hat eine besondere Limousine auf Käfer-Basis gebaut.  Amerikanische Firmen wie Speedster, Meyers Manx aus Kalifornien, Baja Bug, Sand Rail, Dune Buggy und Trike haben mehrere sogenannte “Dune Buggies” hergestellt, die besonders im Südwesten der Vereinigten Staaten beliebt sind.  Die ehemalige deutsche Firma Drews hat einen besonderen Sportwagen auf Käfer-Basis hergestellt.  Ehemalige Marken der Audi A.G. aus Ingolstadt in Bayern sind NSU (aus Neckarsulm in Baden-Württemberg), Horch (der Familienname von Audi-Gründer August Horch), DKW (“Dampfkraftwerk” aus Sachsen und Wanderer.  Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. hat seine erste Käfer-Karosserie im Jahre 1931 für Wanderer entwickelt.

Dormant Brands owned by Audi – VW’s Luxury Division

Audi-NSU also owns a number of dormant automotive brands. The NSU marque is no longer in use, and originally came from the German city ofNeckarsulmin Baden-Württemberg. “AutoUnion” was famous for their racing cars before World War Two, this brand going back to a big corporate merger in 1932. “Horch” made luxury cars before the war, but eventually the “Audi” nameplate replaced “Horch.” “Audi” is Latin for the German “Horch,” which means “listen.” Horch was also the surname of Horch founder August Horch. DKW was yet another brand within the Audi Group. DKW stood for “Dampfkraftwerk” (or “Steamworks” in English) and was originally founded by the Danish immigrant Jorgen Skafte Rasmussen inSaxony,Germany. Most modern Audi cars trace their technical ancestry to DKW. “Wanderer” was another brand formerly within the Audi Group. In fact, the very first Volkswagen Beetle prototype designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. in 1931 bore the “Wanderer” marque. Dr. Porsche used the car for his personal transportation. The Wanderer Volksauto (”peoples’ auto” in English) was a rather large car, with a 3,500 ccm (cubic centimeter) or 3,5 liter engine. This engine had 8-cylinders in-line and it used water-cooling. In comparison to the Tatra 11 and Tatra 12 sedans which were not “streamlined,” the new Wanderer car did have a very streamlined body – which would eventually be christened as a “Beetle” by the English-speaking world. The German word for beetle is “Käfer.” The same word in Dutch is “Kever” and in Afrikaans (Cape South African Dutch) it is “Kewer.”

Yet another Beetle prototype built by Dr. Porsche was the “Zündapp” Volksauto of 1932 and 1933. “Zündapp” was famous for making German motorcycles. The Zündapp Volksauto of 1932 (2 prototypes) and 1933 (1 prototype) also had aerodynamic styling which would foretell the familiar beetle shape. But the engine of the Zündapp Volksauto was a 1,2 liter, water-cooled, rear-mounted, 5-cylinder in-line configuration. One example of this car still exists at Automuseum Wolfsburg, which is the Volkswagen company museum located inWolfsburg, Lower Saxony inGermany. The museum has over 200 restored Volkswagen cars on public display. This particular car is dark brown in color.

After the Zündapp Volksauto came the NSU Volksauto. The prototypes were becoming ever more like the eventual Beetle that the entire world would come to know and love. 3 Prototypes of this car were built by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. in 1934. The car had a 1,470 ccm, rear-mounted, air-cooled, boxer motor which produced 20 BHP (brake horsepower). One example still exists at Automuseum Wolfsburg, and the car is light gray in color.

Volkswagen Group – The World’s Most Profitable Auto Company

The VW-Porsche-MAN-Scania Group is the most financially profitable auto group in the world, and is in the process of starting a massive US $85.6 Billion 5-year global investment program (of which US $14.6 will be in Mainland China and another US $36.9 billion is slated for the research, design and development of 70 new models) to increase production and market share to 11 million new vehicles per year by 2018.  This figure already tops 14.6 million new vehicles per year when one includes their joint venture partners in China(FAW and SAIC-Nanjing) and Russia(GAZ-Volga).  In the US market, VW has or is preparing to introduce twelve (12) brand new models including the Tiguan small sport utility vehicle, the new Jetta Sedan (a 6th generation Jetta with a base price below US $16,000), the Jetta Sportwagen (5th generation Jetta), the Polo minicar and the Routan Minivan.  They have re-established an American manufacturing plant located in Chattanooga,Tennessee (close to the other German facilities of Daimler, A.G. and BMW, A.G.).  The goal is to triple theirUS sales to about 1 million units per year.  They will initially hire 2,000 American factory workers to manufacture 150,000 units per annum.  The Volkswagen Group’s worldwide market share in 2008 was 14 percent.  Their largest national unit sales are inChina and in their nativeGermany, respectively.  VW market share inGermany is 34 percent.  It stands at 26 percent in Brazil (home of the largest VW subsidiary outside of Germany), 22 percent in the rest of South America, 21 percent in the rest of Europe (including Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus), 16 percent in China, 11 percent in Africa, 7 percent in the rest of Asia (including Central Asia, the Middle East, Turkey, Australia and Oceania), 4 percent in Mexico and Canada and finally 3 percent in the United States of America.

Derzeit verdient die Geschäftsgruppe VW und deren internationalen Bündnispartner aus China und Japan 88.99 Prozent der Gesamtgewinne der globalen Autobranche.  Bis 2018 hat die Autogruppe es vor, mindestens US $85.6 Milliarden zu investieren (davon US $36.9 Milliarden um weltweit 70 neue Kraftwagen zu entwickeln und dazu US $14.6 Milliarden in China), um ihren Verkaufsumsatz auf 11 Millionen neue Kraftwagen im Jahr zu vergrößern.  In den Vereinigten Staaten baut Volkswagen eine neue Fabrik in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Am Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges im Mai 1945 lag das deutsche Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben sowie ganz Deutschland fast total in Schott und Asch.  Andere Autohersteller wie Ford aus den USA, Renault aus Frankreich sowie Humber aus England wollten mit Volkswagen nichts zu tun haben.  Inzwischen ist aber die Gruppe VW-Porsche der große Weltmeister geworden; am 28. Oktober 2008 wurde die bekannte deutsche Geschäftsgruppe aus Niedersachsen in Norddeutschland die zweitgrößte Firma der Welt.

These facts are truly amazing when one remembers that theWolfsburgfactory was bombed into rubble by May of 1945.  It had holes in the roof, and was not even protected from rain or snow.  The British Military administrators (from 1945 to 1948, when it was returned to the Germans), tried to sell the factory and even tried to give it away (without any success!) to companies such as Ford Motor, Renault S.A., Humber (a now defunct company from theU.K.) and even to the government of theSoviet Union.  Everybody in the world thought that Volkswagen was a “loser.”  And what happened?  They turned out to be the losers, and Volkswagen turned out to be the biggest winner of all.  Not only is Volkswagen-Porsche very profitable, not only do they break their own annual unit sales records, but they are also among the most valuable companies on earth – in the league with the national oil company of MainlandChinaand with ExxonMobil.  In October 2008, the Chinese National Petroleum Company was worth an amazing US $1 Trillion, Volkswagen-Porsche US $370 Billion and ExxonMobil US $343 Billion (note: this is stock market value, and not total assets or book value).

Why Volkswagen?

Just why do I and so many millions of other people like Volkswagen products so much? I would have to say that high German quality standards, product longevity, mechanical reliability and genuine economy of operation rank at the top, in spite of the corporate advertisements which emphasize both German engineering and joy of driving (also very important). And we are not talking about just a few people: 187 million Volkswagen (VW) brand vehicles (since 1935) and 535 million total Volkswagen Group vehicles have been built and sold over the years.  The other brand groups within the VW Group alliance and partnership have done well, too (part of the 535 million grand total to year-end 2010).  This large sum includes not merely the extended VW-Porsche Group (VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, MAN, Scania and Porsche), but VW’s joint-venture partners such as Suzuki of Japan and FAW & SAIC-Nanjing ofChinaas well.

Der Volkswagen Gruppe ist es derzeit gelungen mehr als 535 Millionen Fahrzeuge auf den Markt zu bringen und zu verkaufen; 187 Millionen davon unter der VW Marke.  Seit 1873 hat Audi A.G. aus Ingolstadt in Bayern und deren Vorgänger mehr als 75 Millionen Wagen hergestellt, und zwar unter den Marken Audi, Horch, Auto Union, NSU, Wanderer und Zündapp.  Seit 1859 hat Skoda aus Jungbunzlau in Böhmen etwa 39 Millionen Wagen (und nicht nur Kraftwagen) verkauft, und zwar unter den Marken Skoda, Nesselsdorf, Tatra, Praga, Liaz, Avia sowie Hispano-Suiza.  Seit 1947 hat Porsche aus Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen mehr als 3 Millionen hauptsächlich Sportwagen hergestellt.  Seit der Erfindung des Rads vor 5,700 Jahren sind mehr als 2,615 Millionen Wagen (und nicht nur Kraftwagen) von etwa 15,000 Hersteller weltweit gebaut.

The Audi Division (including “dormant” brands such as Auto Union, NSU, Horch, Wanderer and Zündapp) has sold more than 72 million vehicles since 1873. The Skoda Division and its other brands (such as Tatra, Nesselsdorf, Praga, Liaz, Avia and Hispano-Suiza) have sold more than 58 million vehicles since 1859.  Porsche has built and sold more than 3 million high-performance sports cars since 1947, and Bentley has sold over a half million luxury cars since 1906.  Lamborghini has manufactured more than 60,000 high-performance luxury sports cars since 1963, and Bugatti has delivered over 4,000 of the most exclusive cars in the entire world since its inception.

As of the end of March 2011, 2,615 million vehicles have been built worldwide since the invention of the wheel 5,700 years ago.  The combined brands from the Volkswagen Group ofGermanyare near the top of the list with a cumulative 323 million vehicles.    More than 15,000 international vehicle brands (not merely motor vehicle brands) have been in existence at one time or another over the course of thousands of years.  The estimated existing population of motor vehicles in the world both active and inactive was once as high as 843 million units.  TheUnited Stateshad the most by far, once estimated to be 300 million.  Due to the collapsing global economy (a contraction of inflationary credit), this figure could now be as low as 225 million for the United States – a decline of 25 percent from the all-time record high around the year 2000.  It would be reasonable to assume that the total stock of motor vehicles is declining worldwide for the first time since 1945 – which would translate into an existing stock of 632 million motor vehicles worldwide (as opposed to 843 million units).  About two percent of the existing population of vehicles is more than 25 years old.  Many of these older cars are antique, classic and other collector cars built before 1985.

The following list details the cumulative number of vehicles (not merely automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles) within each of the largest surviving automotive groups.  Totals change not merely due to production, but due to corporate ownership.  Orphan and dormant brands are placed where they best belong (brand descripions are not complete, because the total number of brands is very large in most cases):

  1. Volkswagen of Germany (includes Suzuki, FAW and SAIC-Nanjing): 535 million
  2. Toyota of Japan (includes Lexus, Scion, Isuzu, Toyopet, Daihatsu and Hino): 323 million
  3. General Motors (includes Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Geo, Saturn, Hummer, LaSalle, Little, Viking,Oakland, Acadian, Opel, Vauxhall, Wuling, Daewoo and Holden): 322 million
  4. Hyundai of South Korea (includes Kia of South Korea): 220 million
  5. Ford Motor of USA (includes Mercury, Lincoln, Mazda, Edsel, Merkur and Volvo Cars prior to sale of Volvo): 203 million
  6. Fiat ofItaly(includes Lancia, Alfa-Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Eagle, AMC, Nash,Hudson, Jeffrey,Essex, Terraplane and Simca): 136 million
  7. Peugeot of France (includes Citroën and Mathis): 116 million
  8. Honda of Japan (includes Honda and Acura): 115 million
  9. Nissan of Japan (includes Nissan, Infiniti, Nissan Diesel and Datsun): 105 million

10.  Renault ofFrance(includesRenault,Daciaand Samsung): 88 million

11.  Daimler (includes Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart, Freightliner,Sterling, Western Star, Thomas, Detroit Diesel, Setra, Orion and Fuso): 76 million

12.  BMW (includes BMW, Mini, Rolls-Royce, Goggomobil and Goggo): 55 million

13.  Chana of MainlandChina: 54 million

14.  Tata ofIndia(includes Tata, Jaguar, Land-Rover, British Daimler and Lanchester): 39 million

15.  BYD ofChina(partly owned by Berkshire Hathaway of Omaha, Nebraska): 30 million

16.  Beijing-AIG ofChina: 26 million

17.  Dongfeng ofChina(strategic partner of Peugeot): 25 million

18.  Avtovaz ofRussia(since partially purchased by Renault): 21 million

19.  Chery of MainlandChina: 19 million

20.  Fuji-Subaru ofJapan(partly owned by Toyota of Japan): 18 million

21.  Anhui-Jianghuai ofChina: 12 million

22.  Geely of MainlandChina(prior to purchase of Volvo Cars): 12 million

23.  Brilliance ofChina: 12 million

24.  Navistar of theUSA(includes International Harvester and Mahindra): 11 million

25.  Great Wall Motor ofChina: 8 million

26. ShandongKaima ofChina: 6 million

27.  Proton ofMalaysia(includes Lotus Cars of theUK): 5 million

28.  Mitsubishi ofJapan: 4 million

29. ChinaNational ofChina: 4 million

VW is at the forefront of diesel technology (turbo direct injection and now common rail direct injection, developed along with Daimler, A.G. of Germany), gasoline engine technology (the new TSI engines which offer greater performance, more power and more economy all with smaller engine displacements) and even ethanol engine technology (the alcohol engines of Volkswagen do Brasil, S.A.). TSI gasoline engines feature both turbochargers and superchargers to reach their superior performance and economy with a reduced displacement.

VW’s luxury Audi A.G. division (which includes the active brands of Audi, Lamborghini and Seat) is the number one unit volume luxury car manufacturer in the world as of the first quarter of 2009.  They are very closely followed by two other German luxury car brand groups: 2) BMW of Munich, Bavaria (which includes BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce) and Daimler of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg (which includes Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Smart Car).

The Problem with Ethanol

Although ethanol engines have some interesting qualities, such as less pollution, higher speeds, faster acceleration and more horsepower, ethanol as a fuel causes to many serious problems to be a true replacement for gasoline / crude oil. The first very serious problem is the supply of farmland and food for the world’s population. Too much land is now being converted to grow corn in North America, sugar cane in South America and palm oil inAsiato supply Ethanol for motor vehicles. Furthermore, the corn necessary to make 60 gallons of Ethanol can feed one human being for an entire year. The global economy is now contracting, while food and commodity prices are skyrocketing. It is criminal to convert necessary food for human beings and the farm animals upon which we depend into fuel for cars and trucks. Another even bigger problem with ethanol is environmental, and this is an even greater danger to the most important global food source of all – fish. With more farmland being converted to grow crops for ethanol, much more fertilizer is spilling into our rivers and ultimately into our lakes and oceans. This poisons the supply of fish, which is the most important source of food for many billions of people on earth. Furthermore, healthy oceans are critical to maintaining a healthy food chain. Oceans and other surface water (seas, lakes and rivers) comprise 74% of the earth’s surface. They are the foundation upon which the food chain of the earth is built. Furthermore, the amount of ground water we may access through wells goes down very deep in some places. This ground water is estimated to be 4 to 5 times the volume of water we see on the surface of the earth. This is yet another valid and important reason to immediately cease pumping toxic chemicals into our surface water.

Ethanol is now being subsidized by the American taxpayer to the level of 44 cents per gallon.  In other words, Ethanol is not really the least expensive grade of fuel – it is actually the most expensive grade of fuel in theUnited States, even more expensive than diesel.  Diesel fuel is actually less expensive to refine compared to gasoline, making it less expensive compared to gasoline in much of the world.  Diesel is relatively expensive in theUSAdue to its limited supply compared to gasoline.

In the short term, the new oil fields discovered in both Canada (shale oil) and Venezuela hold more reserves than the rest of the world combined, the Middle East included. Additional shale oil fields in the Rocky Mountain states of theUSAhold even more oil reserves than the new Canadian and Venezuelan discoveries, although they are much deeper in the ground. Developing this is far more practical and safer for our environment compared to diverting crops into ethanol production. New low displacement engines will become much more fuel efficient as well. The ultimate among these is the so-called mighty (MYT) engine.

In the long term, the best new sources of energy are both safe and plentiful. They include existing nuclear fission technology, where waste can now be recycled into more fuel – thus eliminating the problem of dumping radioactive waste. Beyond this, nuclear fusion technology (electromagnetic power, black light power) will be even less expensive. Thus is the sun and are the stars of heaven powered. This is the true wave of the future, and the sooner humankind wakes up to this fact, the better for our children and for our planet.

My Volkswagens

My 1973 Volkswagen Type One Super Beetle Sedan (Kansas Beige exterior) has been fully restored and is still very economical after 37 years of operation. Even counting a full and thorough restoration (the car was taken apart and rebuilt with new German parts), it is still less expensive to own compared to other new cars. My 1998 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel Sedan is among the most economical and fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. Imagine an average fuel economy in excess of 40 miles per gallon (maximum 59 miles per gallon) and a top speed of 115 miles per hour. Compare this to the large sport utility vehicles and so-called light trucks built by the big three automakers ofDetroit(General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler).

Zuhause fahre ich derzeit fast täglich eine weiße 1998 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel Limousine.  Außerdem habe ich eine völlig restaurierte kansasbeige 1973 VW 1303 Limousine.  Dieselkraftwagen sind wesentlich rentabler im Brennstoffverbrauch im Vergleich zu Kraftwagen mit Benzinmotor.  Die neuen Dieselfahrzeuge aus Wolfsburg sind nicht nur sparsamer im Brennstoffverbrauch, sie sind auch schneller und sauberer wenn verglichen mit Benzinfahrzeuge.  Meine Eltern hatten eine granadarote VW Typ3 Fließheck Limousine, Baujahr 1967, die sie in Deutschland abgeholt haben.  Gleich davor hatten sie eine rubyrote 1962 VW Faltdachlimousine.

In the past, my family owned a 1967 Type 3 Volkswagen FastbackSedan(Granada Red exterior) which was purchased via European Delivery inGermany. Before the Fastback, we had a 1962 Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle SunroofSedan(Ruby Red exterior) which was purchased inNew York. Prior to this, my father owned a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan and a 1949 Ford Meteor Sedan. Both cars paled in comparison to the quality and the reliability of the Volkswagen. The Ford used more oil than gasoline, and spent more time parked in repair shops than driving.

VW’s Profitability compared to the Rest

Which brings us to yet another important point: the Volkswagen Group of Germanyis not merely Germany’s largest carmaker.  By some estimates, VW-Porsche may already be the largest automaker in the entire world (in terms of annual unit sales), but far more importantly it is the most financially profitable automaker in the world.  Of 50 motor vehicle manufacturers in the world today, all now turn a net profit with the exception of nine business groups.  The money losers are General Motors Corporation (USA), Navistar International (USA), the Toyota-Isuzu Group (Japan), RenaultNissan (ofFrance andJapan), Peugeot (France), Mazda (Japan) and Mitsubishi (Japan).  In addition to this, the Chrysler Division of Fiat, s.p.a. and the Adam Opel division of General Motors Corporation are huge money-losers.

Derzeit verdient die Geschäftsgruppe VW und deren internationalen Bündnispartner aus China und Japan 88.99 Prozent der Gesamtgewinne der globalen Autobranche.  Bis 2018 hat die Autogruppe es vor, mindestens US $85.6 Milliarden zu investieren (davon US $36.9 Milliarden um weltweit 70 neue Kraftwagen zu entwickeln und dazu US $14.6 Milliarden in China), um ihren Verkaufsumsatz auf 11 Millionen neue Kraftwagen im Jahr zu vergrößern.  In den Vereinigten Staaten baut Volkswagen eine neue Fabrik in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Am Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges im Mai 1945 lag das deutsche Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben sowie ganz Deutschland fast total in Schott und Asch.  Andere Autohersteller wie Ford aus den USA, Renault aus Frankreich sowie Humber aus England wollten mit Volkswagen nichts zu tun haben.  Inzwischen ist aber die Gruppe VW-Porsche der große Weltmeister geworden; am 28. Oktober 2008 wurde die bekannte deutsche Geschäftsgruppe aus Niedersachsen in Norddeutschland die zweitgrößte Firma der Welt.

The annual profits and cash reserves of the extended VW-Porsche Group (Porsche, Volkswagen, VW Commercial Vehicles, Audi-NSU, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Cosworth, Scania, MAN, SAIC-Nanjing, FAW and Suzuki) are truly profound – an impressive US $150.356 billion per year as of February 2011.  The VW-Porsche Group’s most profitable business entities include Porsche ($816 million), Volkswagen ($125.627 billion), Audi ($19.867 billion), MAN heavy commercial trucks ($800 million), Scania heavy commercial trucks ($926 million), Suzuki ($1.5 billion), Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles ($500 million), the FAW and SAIC-Nanjing joint-ventures in China ($456 million), Skoda Auto from the Czech Republic ($249 million) and finally Lamborghini of Italy ($15 million).  The only brand within the Volkswagen Group losing money is SEAT ofSpain, at a minus US $400 million in 2010.  The cash reserves referenced here include both cash in the bank plus cash committed to global expansion projects.

Volkswagen Partnership with GAZ of Russia

On September 2, 2010 Volkswagen A.G. announced a brand new partnership with GAZ of Russia which will include a shared assembly plant inRussia.  VW plans to increase its annual unit sales inRussiato 360,000 new vehicles by 2017.  The current Volkswagen factory inKaluga,Russiahas an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles.  GAZ manufactures mostly light commercial trucks under theVolgabrand name.  GAZ sold 69,591 new vehicles in 2009, and they recently purchased an idle Russian plant from Chrysler Corporation with annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles.  The goal is to increase Volkswagen-GAZ annual unit sales inRussiafrom 110,000 today to 580,000 units by 2017-2018.

The Competition

The automotive industry has been going up and down with much of the rest of the global economy and equity market.  Mature auto markets such as those inJapanand theUSAare still well below their respective peaks reached during the decade of the 1980s.  Markets not yet saturated have been and will continue to grow at rapid rates.  Such markets include those inChina,India,South Korea,Russia,Brazil,MexicoandSouth Africa.  The global equity market reached a real peak in late 1999 and early 2000.  It then fell by almost 40 percent by late 2002.  A nominal recovery mostly driven by additional credit sent the global equity market to a nominal peak but not a real peak by late 2007.  The market then lost 55 percent by early 2009.  In early 2011 the market is still in the process of topping.  When the next phase of the crash starts the automotive industry will experience what it did during the first two phases of the crash, only worse.  The many companies that were losing money and receiving government assistance will return to losing even more money.  Only this time around, governments will no longer have the ability to bail those companies out.  I believe that many of those money-losing companies will finally go bankrupt and cease to exist.  Strong companies such as Volkswagen may increase their dominance at the expense of weaker companies.  Newer automotive companies from countries such asChina,IndiaandRussiamay finally establish a global presence.

Andere große internationale Kraftwagenhersteller haben im Jahre 2010 Geldverluste einbüssen müßen.  General Motors Corporation ist bankrott und hat die enorme Summe von US $173.980 Milliarden verloren (Nettoverlußte und Verschuldung insgesamt – Jahresende 2010).  Die Firma ist seitdem im Besitz der amerikanischen Bundesregiergung in Washington, D.C., die selbst in großer Verschuldung ist.  Chrysler Corporation (vormals Eigentum von Daimler A.G. in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim) gehört inzwischen Fiat s.p.a. aus Italien.  Bis jetzt hat Fiat-Chrysler insgesamt US $41.477 Milliarden verloren (Nettoverlußte und Verschuldung insgesamt – Jahresende 2010).  General Motors und Chrysler werden derzeit beide von der amerikanischen Bundesregierung unterstützt.  Peugeot-Citroën aus Frankreich hat US 1.572 Milliarden und Toyota aus Japan hat mehr als US $38.22 Milliarden verloren (Nettoverlußte und Verschuldung insgesamt – Jahresende 2010), und Mitsubishi aus Japan hat mehr als US $2.050 Millarden verloren.  Mazda aus Japan (ehemaliger Bündispartner von Ford Motor Company aus Dearborn, Michigan) hat mehr als US $596 Millionen und Navistar International (Lastkraftwagenhersteller aus Amerika) hat im Jahre 2009 mehr als einhundert Millionen Dollar verloren.

The German Motor Vehicle Industry

Porsche, A.G. (of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany)

No discussion of Volkswagen, or of the great brands of the German motor vehicle industry, can be complete without discussing Porsche. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. was the father of the original rear-engine, air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle Sedan (a chassis that was born in 1935), and Porsche, A.G. is today the largest individual shareholder within Volkswagen, A.G – with 30% of the total voting shares.  The extended Porsche family ofGermanyandAustriain turn owns 51% of the voting shares within Porsche, A.G., with Volkswagen now holding the remaining 49% of Porsche.  The German State of Lower Saxony owns 20,2% of Volkswagen, A.G. shares, the nation of Qatar 20% and Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) owns 3,5% of the voting stock within Volkswagen, A.G.

Volkswagen A.G. aus Wolfsburg-Fallersleben und Porsche A.G. aus Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen teilen eine gemeinsame Geschichte, weil Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. der sogenannte Großvater beider deutschen Firmen ist.  Derzeit besitzt Porsche A.G. 30% von Volkswagen, und Volkswagen besitzt 49% von Porsche.  Die derzeitige Mutterfirma ist Volkswagen A.G., die 30% der Porsche A.G. gehört, 20,2% dem Bundesland Niedersachsen, 20% Katar und 3,5% der Schweizerischen Vereinsbank.  Der Volkswagen wurde als ein Wagen für das Volk entwickelt – zuerst für das deutsche Volk, aber inzwischen für Leute weltweit.  Der Porsche wurde als Sportwagen entwickelt, inzwischen als Luxusportwagen, Luxus SUV (Geländewagen) und als Luxuslimousine (der Porsche Panamera).  Zur Zeit des Zweiten Weltkrieges hat Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. den Volkswagen Kübelwagen, den VW Schwimmwagen, den VW Kommandeurwagen sowie die Panzerkampfwagen Tiger, Königstiger und den Jagdpanzer Elefant für die deutsche Wehrmacht entwickelt.

Although Porsche and Volkswagen have a common technical ancestry, Volkswagen was always meant to be a mass market brand. In contrast, Porsche is a very specialized, up-market brand dedicated to sports cars and professional racing. The first Porsche prototype was built in 1939. It used mostly Volkswagen Beetle parts, but was designed for racing from the outset. This “Porsche 64” had an output of 50 BHP (brake horsepower) and a top speed of 99 MPH, thus making it 60% faster than the Volkswagen Beetle Sedan of its time. During World War Two, no race cars were developed inGermanyor anywhere else. All efforts were directed to the production of armaments. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. and his son “Ferry” Porsche, Jr. designed such vehicles as the military Volkswagen “Kübelwagen” (”bucket car” in German), the Volkswagen “Schwimmwagen” (”swimming car” in German), the Volkswagen Kommandeurwagen (”commander’s car” in German, complete with 4-wheel drive), the Tiger Tank, the King Tiger Tank and the “Elefant” Tank Destroyer. The first post-World War Two civilian Porsche sports car was the famous Porsche 356, which made its market debut in 1948. The elder Dr. Porsche passed away on January 31, 1951. Porsche’s must successful early racing car was the famous Porsche 550 Spyder.

The famous and wonderful Porsche 911 Coupé we know today was introduced all the way back in 1964. The Porsche 911 was of course the successor to the venerable Porsche 356. Porsche eventually introduced front-engined cars (with in-line cylinders as opposed to boxer-motors), such as the Porsche 924, the Porsche 944 and the Porsche 928 Coupés. These were also very good and high quality cars, but their popularity could never match that of the more traditional Porsche 911. They have been discontinued, but since then Porsche has introduced a very up-scale SUV (sport utility vehicle) known as the “Porsche Cayenne.” It rides on the same platform as the Volkswagen Touareg SUV and the Audi Q7 SUV. It sells very well, as does the small “Porsche Boxter” sports car. Porsche also manufactures farm equipment, such as tractors. Porsche, A.G. makes and sells more than 97,000 new vehicles per year and has more than 11,900 employees.

In mid 2009, Porsche A.G. will realize a long-awaited dream and finally introduce a four-door luxury passenger car – the Porsche “Panamera.”  This is something which they had wanted to do as early as the 1960s (in order to compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW) but had decided against due to the fact that their company was so relatively small at that time.  The styling of the “Panamera” will take a cue from French brands such as Renault, Peugeot and Citroën, and have four passenger doors and a rear “hatch,” which will allow for greater cargo area compared to a conventional trunk or “boot” as it is known in theUnited Kingdom.

Daimler, A.G. (of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany)

The Volkswagen Group is the largest automotive group based inGermanyand inEuropetoday, with worldwide sales of more than 14,6 million new vehicles per year (including VW’s Chinese partners FAW and SAIC-Nanjing, plus Suzuki of Japan and GAZ of Russia). The second largest independent German motor vehicle manufacturer is Daimler, A.G. of Stuttgart, Germany. Whereas Volkswagen is based in the city ofWolfsburgin the Northern German state of Lower Saxony, Daimler is based in the city ofStuttgartin the Southern German state of Baden-Württemberg (which is the same home town ofPorsche, A.G., now the largest shareholder within Volkswagen, A.G.). Daimler, A.G. currentlly sells more than 2,5 million new vehicles per year worldwide. One will recall that the “VW30? series of 30 Volkswagen Beetle prototypes were actually manufactured at the Daimler-Benz factory inStuttgartin 1937. The two largest German auto groups (Volkswagen and Daimler) thus have something of a common historical bond.  Daimler, A.G. employs more than 272,300 people worldwide.  Daimler, A.G.’s largest individual shareholders are now from the Middle East – they are 9,1% owned by Abu Dhabi (part of the United Arab Emirates) and 6,9% owned by Kuwait.

Deutschlands zweitgrößter Kraftwagenhersteller ist Daimler A.G. aus Stuttgart-Untertürkheim.  Derzeit verkauft das Unternehmen weltweit etwa 2,5 millionen Einheiten im Jahr.  Im Jahre 1937 wurden die 30 “VW30” Prototypen des deutschen Volkswagens bei Daimler hergestellt, weil die Volkswagenfabrik in Wolfsburg-Fallersleben noch nicht fertig war.  Derzeit hat Daimler A.G. weltweit 272,300 Angestellte, und Abu Dhabi hat einen Firmenanteil von 9,1%, während Koweit einen Firmenanteil von 6,9% besitzt.  Daimler A.G. wurde von Gottlieb Daimler im Jahre 1871 als “Daimler & Compagnie” gegründet.  Derzeit besitzt die Firma die aktiven Marken Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, AMG, Smart (aus Elsaß), Freightliner (USA), Sterling (USA), Thomas (USA), Detroit Diesel (USA), Setra, Orion, Western Star (USA) und Fuso (aus Japan).  Daimler A.G. besitzt auch 40% von McLaren (der Rennsportwagenhersteller), 22,4% von EADS (der Flugzeughersteller Airbus), zehn Prozent von KAMAZ (aus Rußland) und sieben Prozent von Tata Motors aus Indien.  Im Jahre 1926 fusionierten sich die zwei bekannten deutschen Luxuswagenhersteller Daimler A.G. und Benz A.G., beide aus Stuttgart. Die Benz A.G. wurde im Jahre 1885 von Karl Benz gegründet.  “Mercedes” war die Tochter von Emil Jellinek, der für Daimler finanziell wertvoll und auch andersweitig sehr einflußreich war.  Aus dem Grunde sind die Kraftfahrzeuge der Firma unter den Namen “Mercedes” und “Mercedes-Benz” bekannt.  Herr Benz und Herr Daimler haben sich nie persönlich kennengelernt.

Daimler, A.G. was founded by Gottlieb Daimler in 1871 as “Daimler & Cie.”  Today, they own the active name brands of Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, AMG, Smart, Freightliner,Sterling, Thomas, Detroit Diesel, Setra, Orion, Western Star and Fuso.  Daimler, A.G. also owns substantial equity stakes in McLaren (40%), EADS – the owner of Airbus (22,4%), KAMAZ of Russia (10%) and Tata Motors of India (7%).

Mercedes-Benz is of course the very famous and extremely high quality luxury car brand founded due to the 1926 merger between Daimler, A.G. and Benz, A.G. (both of Stuttgart, Germany). Benz was founded by Karl Benz, also in 1885. The name “Mercedes” is a girl’s first name, and eventually replaced “Daimler” on the name of the cars due to a very important man named Emil Jellinek. He was a wealthy investor in Daimler, A.G. who required that the name brand used on the cars would be changed to “Mercedes,” which was the name of his daughter Mercedes Jellinek. This was Mr. Jellinek’s condition upon the use of his money for the company.

The brand “Maybach” is yet another luxury marque fromGermany, even more exclusive than Mercedes-Benz itself. “AMG” is known as a German tuning company which modifies Mercedes-Benz cars, and makes them of even higher performance than regular Mercedes-Benz models. “Smart” is a relatively new company founded by Daimler. It is based in theAlsace(”Elsaß” or “Elsass” in German), which is a German-speaking province now part ofFrance. TheAlsaceborders the German state of Baden-Württemberg in the West. Smart makes very small “micro cars” even smaller than the smallest Mercedes-Benz “A-Class” cars. These are of course not to be confused with the A-Class platform used by Volkswagen! The “A-Class” Mercedes-Benz models have never been sold inNorth America.  The somewhat larger Mercedes-Benz “B-Class” cars are sold in both Europe andCanada, but not in theUnited States.  The smallest Mercedes-Benz models now sold in theUSAandCanadaare those of the “C-Class,” and these with the 2,3 liter engine. The Smart Car line sells a model known as the “For Two” – meaning it is meant to carry just two passengers. They used to sell a model known as the “For Four” (meant to carry four passengers), but this was recently discontinued. The factory for the “For Four” was actually located in theNetherlands, and shared with Mitsubishi Corporation ofJapan. The “For Four” was not a bad car, and was one step below the Mercedes-Benz “A-Class” in both size and price.

Going up the ladder in both size and price, the “E-Class” Mercedes-Benz is known as their mid-sized passenger car. The “S-Class” is the largest and most luxurious class of Mercedes-Benz passenger car, and a standard of international excellence. The “SL-Class” is the Mercedes-Benz sports car, and the “CLK-Class is the Mercedes-Benz touring coupé. The “M-Class” is the smaller SUV (sport utility vehicle) class built inTuscaloosa,Alabama(theUSA) and the “G-Class” is the large SUV built inGermany. “G” in this case stands for “Geländewagen,” or “off road vehicle” in English.

Daimler, A.G. Large Commercial Truck Brands

Freightliner is a large American commercial truck manufacturer based in the state ofOregon. Other American truck brands owned by Daimler, A.G. includeSterling, Western Star and Detroit Diesel. The American brand of Thomas manufactures large passenger buses, as does the German brand of Setra. Fuso is a Japanese truck brand owned by Daimler, A.G.

Borgward (formerly of Bremen, Germany)

Daimler, A.G. also owns the old “Borgward” plant inBremen,Germany. Borgward was famous for stylish cars such as the very attractive “Isabella” model. My first cousin, Thomas Hans Nonnenkamp, works at this Mercedes-Benz plant. They used to make the smaller “C-Class” passenger cars, and even the “CLK-Class” of smaller sport coupés. Now, the plant specializes in police and fire department vehicles for provinces and municipalities throughoutGermanyandEurope. Borgward left the car business in 1961, and had previously sold the German automotive brands of Borgward, Hansa, Lloyd and Goliath.

Der ehemalige deutsche Kraftwagenhersteller Borgward hatte ein Werk in Bremen.  Das damalige Borgward Fabrikgelände wurde von Daimler übernommen.  Derzeit werden Polizei und Feuerwehr-Kraftwagen in Bremen hergestellt.  Carl. F.W. Borgward war ein Schwede.  Zur Zeit des Zweiten Weltkrieges hat Borgward auch für die deutsche Wehrmacht produziert (Fahrzeuge alle Art – Lastkraftwagen, Panzerwagen, u.s.w.) und sich dabei finanziell übernommen.  Einer der Gründe der dann zur Pleite der Firma beigetragen hat.  Die Werkeinrichtung wurden eventuell an mexikanische Intereßen verkauft und verschifft.  Als Chrysler Corporation aus Auburn Hills, Michigan (USA) am 30. April 2009 Pleite machte, besaß Daimler A.G. 19,9% von Chrysler.  Derzeit hält Fiat s.p.a. aus Italien einen Anteil von 25% der Chrysler Corporation, die amerikanische Gewerkschaft U.A.W. (“United Auto Workers”) einen beherrschenden Anteil von 55%, und 20% gehört der amerikanischen Bundesregierung in Washington, D.C.

Chrysler Corporation (of Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA)

The Chrysler Corporation is the smallest ofDetroit’s remaining “Big 3? auto companies. Worldwide, Chrysler Corporation sells more than 1,0 million new vehicles per year.  They employ more than 132,100 people worldwide.

Daimler, A.G. ofGermany surrendered its 19,9% equity stake in Chrysler Corporation ofAuburn Hills,Michigan(USA) for zero value upon Chrysler’s April 30, 2009 bankruptcy filing. The majority equity share of 80,1% purchased in 2007 by Cerberus Capital Management (Daimler, A.G. owned 100% of Chrysler from 1998 until 2007) was likewise surrendered at a total loss on April 30, 2009. Cerberus Capital Management is a very large private investment company, specializing in trying to turn unprofitable companies such as Chrysler back to profitability. Chrysler Corporation was founded by Walter P. Chrysler in June of 1925. He was an American of German ancestry, whose ancestors emigrated toAmericawith the German surname of “Kreissler.” As in so many other cases, the German surname of his ancestors was Americanized.  On April 30, 2009 it was announced that Fiat, S.p.a. of Italy now owns 25% of Chrysler Corporation, leaving the United Autoworkers Union (UAW) with 55% and theUnited Statesfederal government with 20%.

Chrysler sells the active automotive brands of Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. They also own a number of dormant brands from the past. These includePlymouth(until 2001), Eagle (until 1998), Imperial (until 1983),Fargo(a truck brand until 1972), DeSoto (until 1961), Maxwell (Chrylser’s predecessor marque from 1904 to 1925), Chalmers (another predecessor to Chrysler from 1901 to 1923) and Cunningham (a very small specialty brand during the 1950s).

Jeep Division of Chrysler Corporation

The Jeep brand was established in 1941, then being part of Willys-Overland. Willys-Overland has been dormant since 1963. Through them, Chrysler Corporation owns the dormant brands of Duesenberg (reproductions until 2000), Kaiser (name used until 1970), Cord (reproductions until 1970), Willys (marque used until 1963), Henry J (until 1954), Frazer (until 1951), American Bantam (until 1941), Graham (until 1940), Hupmobile (until 1940), Auburn (until 1936), American Austin (until 1934), Willys-Knight (until 1932), Whippet (until 1931), Stearns-Knight (until 1929), Chandler (until 1929), Paige (until 1927), Overland (until 1926) and Jewett (until 1926).

Die amerikanische Automarke “Jeep” ist seit 1987 im Besitz der Chrysler Corporation.  Der Geländewagenhersteller American Bantam wurde im Jahre 1941 von Willys-Overland aus Ohio erworben.  Ehemalige Marken von Chrysler Corporation sind Duesenberg (im Jahre 2000 eingestellt), Kaiser (der Firmenname war bis 1970 in Gebrauch), Cord (Produktion im Jahre 1970 beendet), Willys (bis 1963 in Brasilien hergestellt), Henry J (im Jahre 1954 eingestellt), Frazer (Produktion im Jahre 1951 beendet), American Bantam (der ursprüngliche Jeep Hersteller, der im Jahre 1941 übernommen wurde), Graham und Hupmobile (im Jahre 1940 eingestellt), Auburn (Produktion im Jahre 1936 beendet), American Austin (im Jahre 1934 eingestellt), Willys-Knight (Produktion im Jahre 1932 beendet), Whippet (im Jahre 1931 eingestellt), Stearns-Knight und Chandler (Produktion im Jahre 1929 beendet), Paige (im Jahre 1927 eingestellt), Overland und Jewett (Produktion im Jahre 1926 beendet).  Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg aus Auburn, Indiana wurde ursprünglich als Pferdekutschenhersteller “Eckardt” von einer deutschen Einwandererfamilie gegründet.  Andere ehemalige Marken der ehemaligen Gruppe Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg sind Stutz, Checker, Divco und Diamond Truck.  Divco und Diamond Truck waren Lastwagenhersteller, während Checker hauptsächlich Taxis hergestellt hat.  Stutz aus Wisconsin und Duesenberg aus Indiana waren bekannte Luxuswagenhersteller, die von deutschen Einwandererfamilien gegründet wurden.

Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg (formerly of Auburn, Indiana)

Auburnwas originally founded by a German immigrant family inIndiananamed “Eckardt.” The Auburn motor car was named after the city ofAuburn,Indiana. They began by manufacturing horse-drawn carriages. Duesenberg was also founded by immigrants fromGermanyto Indiana (the Duesenberg brothers). Duesenberg built engines for speed boats as well as for luxury motor cars. Duesenberg was once the standard of luxury excellence in the entire world, even better than Rolls-Royce of England or Mercedes-Benz ofGermany. Many American celebrities of the 1920s and the 1930s were proud owners of custom-built Duesenbergs – and all Duesenbergs were custom built. Everett Loban Cord manufactured the famous Cord luxury coupés, and he even owned companies such as American Airlines, Stutz, Checker, Divco and Daimond Truck. Stutz was another great American car company, having been founded by a German-American inWisconsin. Their most famous model was the Stutz Bearcat Roadster, popular among wealthy young men inAmericaduring the 1930s. Checker was another American car company native to the State ofIndiana. They were famous for manufacturing taxi cabs until 1982. For many years, most taxi cabs in cities such asNew Yorkwere Checkers. Both Divco and Diamond were independent American commercial truck manufacturers.

Eagle Division of Chrysler Corporation (formerly American Motors Corporation of Kenosha, Wisconsin)

The “Eagle” Division of Chrysler Corporation was the renamed “American Motors Corporation” (AMC) upon Chrysler’s purchase of AMC from Renault of France in 1987. They sold cars under the Eagle marque until 1998. Most of these cars were rebadged Renault or Mitsubishi designs. Renault of France had purchased a majority share in AMC in 1979, and Chrysler Corporation had cooperation and equity cross-holdings with Mitsubishi Motors of Japan.

Im Jahre 1987 hat Chrysler Corporation aus Auburn Hills, Michigan die American Motors Corporation (AMC) aus Kenosha, Wisconsin erworben.  Die Marke AMC wurde als Eagle (“Adler” auf deutsch) umbenannt, aber die neue Marke wurde im Jahre 1998 eingestellt.  Von 1979 bis 1987 war American Motors Corporation im Besitz von Renault S.A. aus Frankreich.  Die Marke “AMC” war von 1970 bis 1987 in Gebrauch.  Von 1954 bis 1969 waren die Kraftwagen aus Kenosha, Wisconsin als “Rambler” bekannt.  Im Jahre 1954 fusionierte Nash-Kelvinator Corporation aus Kenosha, Wisconsin mit Hudson Motor Company aus Detroit, Michigan unter den neuen Namen “American Motors Corporation” (AMC).  Ehemalige Marken der Autogruppe AMC sind Jeffrey (Nash Autos aus Kenosha, Wisconsin), Kelvinator (Kühlschränke aus Kenosha), Nash-Healey (Sportwagen aus England), Nash-Metropolitan (kleine Coupés aus England), Essex und Terraplane (PKWs aus Detroit, Michigan).  Die letzten Modellen von AMC waren der Ambassador (Luxuswagen), Rebel und Matador (Mittelklassenwagen), Hornet und Concord (Kleinwagen mit Kofferraum im Heck), Gremlin, Pacer und Spirit (erfolglose Konkurrenten des Volkswagen Käfer).

The AMC brand name was used for new cars from 1970 until the Chrysler purchase of AMC in 1987. AMC used the Eagle nameplate for a particular model featuring 4-wheel drive. It was the first 4-wheel drive passenger car in theUnited States, and was actually a modifed AMC Concord model. It came as a 2-door sedan, as a 4-door sedan, as a 4-door station wagon and as a 2-door hardtop. The early AMC models included the Gremlin (a subcompact designed to compete against the Volkswagen Beetle), the Hornet (a compact), the Rebel (a mid-sized car) and the Ambassador (a large car). Later on, AMC face-lifted and upgraded these models to be the Spirit (a subcompact), the Pacer (a very wide subcompact), theConcord(a compact), the Eagle (a 4-wheel drive compact) and the Matador (a mid-sized car).

AMC had sold its cars under the “Rambler” marque from 1954 until 1969. Compacts used the Rambler nameplate, whereas “American” was the mid-sized line and “Ambassador” was the large car line. American Motors Corporation (AMC) was formed due to the 1954 merger between Nash-Kelvinator ofKenosha,Wisconsinand Hudson of Detroit, Michigan. Their first Chairman and Chief Executive Officer was the forward-looking George Mason, succeeded by the hard-working George Romney after Mason’s untimely death. George Romney was eventually elected as the Republican Governor of the State ofMichigan. Nash built cars and Kelvinator built refrigerators. Nash grew out of the old Jeffrey Motor Car Company, and had actually used the Rambler nameplate in its distant past. Nash also had joint ventures with Austin-Healey of theUnited Kingdom, in which they built the Nash-Healey Roadster and the very small Nash-Metropolitan Sedan. The new Nash subcompact was the Nash Rambler. Austin-Healey no longer exists.

Hudsonwas known for building large passenger cars, but they also manufactured an attractive smaller model known as the Hudson Jet. Other name brands fromHudson’s past included both Essex and Terraplane.

Studebaker Corporation (formerly of South Bend, Indiana)

In December 1963, the Chrysler Corporation agreed to purchase the main Studebaker factory inSouth Bend,Indiana. Studebaker was one of the oldest vehicle companies in the world, having been founded by immigrants fromSolingen,Germanyto theUnited States. They first settled inGettysburg,Pennsylvaniain 1736, then moved toAshland,Ohioand finally toSouth Bend,Indianain 1852 – where they founded the Studebaker Corporation. Their original surname was “Stutenbecker” – yet another example of a non-English name being “Americanized” in theNew World. The Studebaker family built the famous “Conestoga” wagons in bothPennsylvaniaandOhio, which were used by white settlers to move West. The 5 Studebaker brothers incorporated the family business in 1852. From 1861 until 1908 (when Studebaker was overtaken by the Ford Motor Company in sales due to the popular and successful “Model T,” Studebaker was the largest and the richest vehicle manufacturer in the entire world). They became so large due to Union government contracts for horse-drawn wagons during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

Studebaker Corporation aus South Bend, Indiana wurde ursprünglich im Jahre 1736 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvanien von einer deutschen Einwandererfamilie aus Solingen, die “Stutenbecker” hieß, gegründet.  Die Familie ist zuerst nach Ashland, Ohio, und eventuell nach South Bend, Indiana im Jahre 1852 umgezogen.  Von 1736 bis 1909 hat die Firma Pferdekutschen hergestellt, und war von 1861 bis 1908 der größte Wagenhersteller (nicht nur Kraftwagen) der Welt.  Von 1904 bis 1911 waren die ursprünglichen Studebaker PKWs als “Studebaker-Garford” bekannt.  Garford hat die Fahrgestelle hergestellt, und Studebaker die Karoßerien.  Im Jahre 1909 hat Studebaker den verhältnismäßig größeren Kraftwagenhersteller Everitt-Metzger-Flanders (EMF) aus Detroit, Michigan erworben.  Von 1915 bis 1933 war Albert Russel Erskine, der mit einer Studebaker verheiratet war, Vorsitzender der Studebaker Corporation.  Von 1931 bis 1933 hat Studebaker die Marke “Rockne” hergestellt, die nach dem amerikanischen Fußballstar Knut Rockne genannt wurde.  Studebaker hat auch den amerikanischen Luxuswagenhersteller Pierce-Arrow aus Buffalo, New York erworben.  Die Produktion von Pierce-Arrow wurde zur Zeit der internationalen Wirtschaftskrise im Jahre 1938 beendet.

Studebaker-Garford (formerly of Elyria, Ohio)

During its early car making years from 1904 until 1911, Studebaker teamed up with the Garford Company ofElyria,Ohioto manufacture the high-end Studebaker-Garford passenger cars. Garford made the chassis, whereas Studebaker built the bodies. Then Studebaker purchased EMF (Everitt-Metzger-Flanders) ofDetroit. This kept Studebaker as a large volume automobile manufacturer for a few more years, from 1909 until 1912. The Studebaker Flanders was a popular model. Byron Everitt began building his own car bodies in 1899. William Metzger was the first successful automobile dealer around the same time period. Walter Flanders built automotive component parts, such as engine crankshafts.

In between the two World Wars, Studebaker tried to go more international with the Erskine brand. This was named after the first non-Studebaker family executive to lead the company from 1915-1933, but unfortunately it was not successful. Tragically, Albert Russel Erskine (1871-1933) ended his own life. Another brand name launched by Studebaker was the Rockne (it only endured from 1931-1933), named after the late and famous University of Notre Dame football coach Knut Rockne. Studebaker also owned the White and Pierce-Arrow brands for a number of years. Pierce-Arrow ofBuffalo,New Yorkwas a famous American luxury brand from 1901 until their demise in 1938. They were founded by Heinz, Pierce and Munschauer in 1865. Two of the company founders were German-Americans, and they specialized in household items such as bird cages and bicycles. They built their first steam-powered car in 1900, and adopted the new brand name “Pierce-Arrow” in 1901.

Successful new Studebaker models included the President (1929-1932), and especially the 1939 Studebaker Champion, which helped to save the company from looming bankruptcy. The Champion was a great economy car. During World War Two, Studebaker manufactured the unique M29 “Weasel” cargo and personnel carrier for the American army.

Studebaker-Packard Corporation (the ill-fated merger of 1954)

In 1954, Studebaker merged with Packard of Detroit, Michigan. Back in 1946, George Mason of Nash had wanted to combine Nash, Hudson, Studebaker and Packard into one new independent auto company, so they could better compete with General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler Corporation. Unfortunately, the 3 other companies turned Mason down. Their managers were not as forward looking (and seeing) as George Mason was. In the immediate postwar consumer market of 1946, any auto company could sell pretty much anything they made. Why was this so? Because between 1942 and 1946, the American public was subject to rationing due to World War Two. Furthermore, no car companies had built any civilian models during the war – all of their resources were turned over to wartime production for tanks, armored cars, planes and other weaponry. In lieu of purchasing new goods, American consumers had saved their money and purchased government war bonds for 4 entire years. So when the first “new” cars came out in 1946, the automotive manufacturers could sell anything and everthing they made – regardless of styling or quality. In fact, most 1946 cars were merely carbon copies of the 1942 models. Furthermore, many raw materials such as chrome were in short supply. A large number of cars actually left the factories with wooden bumpers because of this. In 1946, the independent American auto makers did not see the need to merge. George Mason knew that the “good times” would not last forever, and that when consumer demand had finally been met, the independents would be at a severe disadvantage compared to the “Big 3? ofDetroit.

Im Jahre 1954 fusionierten Studebaker Corporation aus South Bend, Indiana und Packard Corporation aus Detroit, Michigan.  Packard war finanziell solvent, was aber bei Studebaker nicht der Fall war.  George Mason, der Vorsitzende von Nash Motors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, wollte schon im Jahre 1946 einen großen “unabhängigen” amerikanischen Kraftwagenhersteller mit Nash, Hudson, Studebaker und Packard bilden – aber die anderen Betriebsdirektoren hatten daran wenig Intereße.  Gleich nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges war es in Amerika möglich, fast alles zu verkaufen.  Während des Krieges war es fast nahezu unmöglich neue Kraftwagen käuflich zu erwerben.  Aber das änderte sich drastisch gleich nach dem Krieg.  Die Bevölkerung saß auf gesspartem Geld und war bereit wieder zu kaufen.  Ab 1954 war es für den kleineren amerikanischen Autofabrikanten wirtschaftlich sehr schwierig mit den drei großen Hersteller (General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company und Chrysler Corporation) Schritt zu halten oder eben zu konkurrieren.  Und die Wirtschaft war im Allgemeinen schwach, es war nicht mehr möglich für die kleineren Autohersteller mit den Niedrigpreisen der größeren zu konkurrieren.

That critical time came by 1954, when Nash and Hudson agreed to form American Motors Corporation (AMC), and when Studebaker and Packard agreed to form the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. But these measures were too little, and too late. AMC actually did quite well for a number of years, and by deciding to concentrate upon the lower end of the consumer market. When they later tried to be all things to all people, they lost out. Studebaker-Packard was not as fortunate. For one thing, Studebaker’s financial condition was not good. Unfortunately, they succeeding in hiding their weakness from Packard until it was too late. Packard actually purchased Studebaker in 1954, but Studebaker managers gained the upper hand within the new merged company. This was Packard’s second great mistake (the first having been the purchase itself). The American automobile market was in the midst of a downturn, wherein the “Big 3? ofDetroitinitiated a price war against each other. The larger companies were able to play at this game for some time, whereas the independents could not. They had less cash than the big companies, margins were thin and they had to spend proportionally much more of their money on tooling. This was the downfall of most independent auto makers. When they made a mistake by retooling for a model which failed to sell well enough, they were unable to recoup their investment.

In 1946, Packard became the first existing American auto maker to introduce new postwar models (Preston Tucker did so as well, but his was a brand new company. The same situation applied to Henry Kaiser and the new cars of Kaiser-Frazer). Studebaker followed in 1947, with the famous “Which way are they going?” cars. In 1950, Studebaker revolutionized auto styling yet again with their famous new front end spindle – it reminded people of looking at a jet engine. In 1951, Studebaker enlarged the grille to improve ventilation for the engine. The spindle disappeared in 1952. In 1953, the famous Raymond Loewy Coupés appeared. Raymond Loewy was a great French-born car designer who worked for the Hupp Motor Company before World War Two and for Studebaker Corporation thereafter. He had served in the French Army during World War One. By 1955, the so-called “Loewy Coupés” were no more, and Studebaker-Packard’s sales were sliding ever Southward (i.e., down). The last real Packard motor cars appeared during the 1955 and 1956 model years – and this was a shame, because Packard was a truly great American marque. The final 1957 and 1958 Packards were actually rebadged Studebakers with some Packard styling.

Im Jahre 1947 hat Studebaker die ersten neukonstruierten nachkriegs Autos der amerikanischen Kraftwagenindustrie eingeführt, die von Raymond Loewy (geboren in Frankreich und nach Amerika ausgewandert) entwickelt wurden.  Im Jahre 1959 hat Studebaker die ersten sogenannten Kompaktwagen der amerikanischen Autoindustrie, nämlich die Studebaker “Lark” Linie, eingeführt.  Im Jahre 1962 hat Studebaker das schöne “Gran Turismo Hawk” Coupé eingeführt, Nachfolger die früheren “Silver Hawk,” “Golden Hawk” und “Flight Hawk” Coupés.  Zu der Zeit war Studebaker-Packard Corporation auch für den Vertrieb von Mercedes-Benz und Audi Kraftwagen in Amerika zuständig.

In 1959, Studebaker enjoyed a marketing coup similar to 20 years before in 1939. In 1959, they introduced the Studebaker Lark line of compact cars. Just as in 1939 (with the introduction of the Studebaker Champion), the 1959 Studebaker Lark gave the company some time. It increased sales, but only until the “Big 3? auto makers fromDetroitresponded with their own compact models. Chrysler Corporation responded with the Plymouth Valiant compact car. General Motors replied with the air-cooled, rear-engined and boxer motor “flat 6? Chevrolet Corvair (also intended to compete with Volkswagen) and a compact car from the Buick Division as well. Ford Motor responded with their own Ford Falcon compact series. American Motors Corporation (AMC) still had its successful Ramber line of compact cars. Sales of the Studebaker Lark gradually declined in the coming years.

In 1962, Studebaker introduced yet another great car – the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, which replaced the line of Studebaker Hawks (Coupés and Hardtops). The Studebaker Silver Hawk, Golden Hawk and Flight Hawk had been introduced in 1956. They replaced the attractive line of so-called “Loewy Coupés,” which had been introduced back in 1953. The Studebaker GT Hawk competed with cars such as the Ford Thunderbird. Studebaker also became theU.S.distributor for Mercedes-Benz and Audi cars in this time period. Many younger Americans thought that Studebaker was a product ofGermany, due to the association with Daimler-Benz, due to Studebaker’s Germanic name and due to the design of the Studebaker grille (similar to the famous Mercedes-Benz grille).

In 1964, Studebaker dropped the “Lark” name from its line of compact passenger cars. In fact, no mid-sized or larger Studebakers had been built since the 1958 model year, when the venerable Packard marque bowed out of the market. Studebaker nameplates included the Cruiser, the Daytona, the Commander and the Wagonaire. The President and Champion names were terminated during the 1950s, and the Dictator name died out in the late 1930s. The Studebaker Pickup Truck was named the “Champ.” The line of Studebaker Pickup Trucks from the 1950s were sold under the “Scotsman” nameplate, as were some of their mid-sized cars during that time period. Studebaker had also manufactured larger commercial trucks, as well as a post office van.

1964 was the final year for Studebaker trucks, and the final year in which Studebaker engines were manufactured. In fact, the Studebaker Corporation had made the decision to withdraw from the automobile business. Their financial condition was not good, and their decision was one to return to profitability – thus fulfilling the fiduciary obligation to their shareholders. 1964 was also the final model year for the highly attractive Studebaker Gran Turismo (GT) Hawk, and for the Studebaker Convertible. The 1965 and 1966 model year Studebakers were the final sedans and station wagons. They were built to use up the remaining inventory of parts, and their engines were purchased from the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Corporation. TheSouth Bend,Indianaplant was sold to Chrysler Corporation, and the 1965 and 1966 sedans and station wagons were built by the Studebaker factory inHamilton,Ontario(Canada). The final car off the assembly line was a 1966 Studebaker Cruiser Sedan on March 16, 1966. The last Studebaker factory manager inHamiltonwas Gordon Grundy.

Die letzten Studebaker Lastkraftwagen liefen im Jahre 1964 in South Bend, Indiana vom Band, und die letzten Studebaker Limousinen liefen im Jahre 1966 in Hamilton, Ontario (Kanada) vom Band.  Danach hat die Firma nur Garten-, Elektrisch-und Öl-Produkte verkauft.  Im Jahre 1967 fusionierte Studebaker mit Worthington Corporation sowie mit Wagner Electric.  Im Jahre 1979 wurde Studebaker-Worthington Corporation von McGraw-Edison Corporation gekauft, und im Jahre 1985 wurde McGraw-Edison von Cooper Industries aus Houston, Texas erworben.  Im Jahre 2007 hatte Cooper Industries einen Umsatz von US $5,9 Milliarden und 29,000 Angestellte.  Aber neue Studebaker LKWs sind noch zu haben.  Seit Dezember 1963 ist das Studebaker Avanti Coupé in Kleinproduktion, zuerst in South Bend, Indiana (die Gebrüder Leo und Nate Altman), ab 1986 in Youngstown, Ohio (Michael Kelly), ab 1990 in Villa Rica, Georgia (im Südosten der Vereinigten Staaten) und ab 2004 in Cancun, Mexico.  Im Jahr laufen etwa 150 Avanti Coupés und Kabrioletts vom Band.

Studebaker continued to sell products under the brand names of STP (a motor oil company), Gravely Tractor (they made outdoor power lawn and garden implements), Onan Electric (generators) and Clarke Floor Machine. In 1967, the Studebaker Corporation merged with Wagner Electric, and then again in the same year with Worthington Corporation, which became the Studebaker-Worthington Corporation. In 1979, the Studebaker-Worthington name disappeared when they were purchased by the McGraw-Edison Corporation. McGraw-Edison was in turn purchased by Cooper Industries in 1985. Cooper manufactures electrical equipment and tools, had gross revenue of US $5,9 billion and 29,000 employees in 2007. They were founded inMount Vernon,Ohioin 1833, but are now headquartered inHouston,Texas.

Avanti Motors Corporation (now of Cancun, México)

But the Studebaker car story does not end here. In December 1963, the Studebaker Dealership owners and brothers Leo Altman and Nate Altman purchased the factory, the tooling and the legal rights to the Avanti Coupé. The revolutionary and high-performance Studebaker Avanti Coupé made its market debut in June of 1962. The Avanti was a competitor to cars such as the Ford Mustang. It was designed by Raymond Loewy under the Studebaker management of Sherwood Harry Egbert. Unfortunately, the Avanti failed to sell in high enough numbers to recoup the investment in retooling – thus sealing Studebaker’s fate in the high volume automobile business. The car was renamed as the “Avanti II,” and remained true to the original Studebaker chassis and Raymond Loewy styling until 1987. It was powered by a Chevrolet Corvette engine, and was produced in very limited numbers every model year.

In October 1982, Stephen H. Blake purchased Avanti from the Altman brothers. The “II” was dropped from the Avanti name, and the chassis of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo (the General Motors “G-Platform) was adopted for the redesigned and modernized Avanti Coupé. In 1986, Avanti was purchased yet again. The new owner, Michael Kelly, moved the company fromSouth Bend,IndianatoYoungstown,Ohio. In September of 1988, Avanti was sold yet again, and this time to John J. Cafaro. A Long-Wheelbase Coupé and a Luxury Touring Sedan were added to the product lineup, but they failed to sell in high numbers. In the 1990s, Avanti relocated to the city ofVilla Rica,Georgia.

Since 2004, Avanti Motors Corporation has been based in the city ofCancun, México. Models today include the Avanti Coupé and the Avanti Convertible. Roughly 150 new Avanti cars are manufactured every year.

This completes the list of American automotive brands descended from or related to the Chrysler Corporation, which is in turn still partly owned by Daimler, A.G. of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg (Germany). The new Volkswagen van for North America (theUnited StatesandCanada) is the “Volkswagen Routan.” This vehicle is based upon the Chrysler RT Platform, and will be manufactured in the Chrysler plant inWindsor,Ontario(Canada).

BMW, A.G. (of Munich, Germany)

BMW (which stands for “Bayerische Motoren Werke” in German, or “Bavarian Motor Works” in English) is the other remaining great independent auto company fromGermany. BMW owns the active automotive brands of BMW (Germany), Mini (United Kingdom) and Rolls-Royce (United Kingdom). BMW was also famous for manufacturing aircraft engines (both piston and jet) in the old days. Their emblem displays the white and blue colors of their nativeBavariawithin a circle. It represents the turning rotors of an aircraft engine. BMW owns the “orphan” or dormant brands ofEisenach(from the formerEastern Germany), Isetta, Glas, Goggomobil and Goggo as well. BMW, A.G. is the third largest independent auto group based inGermany, with annual worldwide sales in excess of 1,44 million new vehicles and more than 107,000 employees.  They are the largest luxury car manufacturer in the world, with the Mercedes-Benz brand of Daimler, A.G. being a close second in luxury car sales.

BMW (“Bayrische Motoren Werke”) A.G. aus München ist Deutschlands drittgrößter Autohersteller.  BMW besitzt die aktiven Marken von BMW (Bayern), Mini und Rolls-Royce (Großbrittannien) sowie die ehemaligen Marken von EMW (Eisenach), Isetta, Glas, Goggomobil und Goggo.  BMW wurde im Jahre 1913 als Flugzeughersteller gegründet, und verkauft derzeit etwa 1,44 Millionen PKWs im Jahr.  Weltweit beschäftigt die Firma mehr als 107,000 Angestellte.  Im Jahre 1919 hat die Firma ihr erstes Auto entwickelt, und im Jahre 1923 ihr erstes Motorrad.  Im Jahre 1994 hat BMW Mini aus Großbrittanien gekauft, und im Jahre 2003 hat die Firma Rolls-Royce aus England von Volkswagen A.G. aus Wolfsburg erworben.  Derzeit verkauft BMW A.G. teuere Motorräder sowie Luxusautos.  Die Firma ist nach Volkswagen A.G. (Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini und Bugatti) und Daimler A.G. (Mercedes-Benz und Maybach) der drittgrößte Luxuswagenhersteller der Welt.

BMW was founded as an aircraft engine manufacturer in 1913. After World War One, the highly restrictive “Treaty of Versailles” (1919) forbadeGermanyfrom manufacturing military aircraft. To diversify its business and remain financially viable, BMW expanded into motorcycle production by 1923 and automobile production by 1929. BMW purchased the British “Mini” brand in 1994, which was then relaunched in the marketplace by 2001. The very upscale luxury car brand of Rolls-Royce was purchased by BMW from Volkswagen, A.G. in 2003. Volkswagen had owned Rolls-Royce from 1998-2003.

BMW Motorcycles

BMW launched its first motorcycle, the “R32,” in 1923. It used a horizontally-opposed “boxer motor,” which BMW still uses in its new motorcycles today. During the Second World War, BMW manufactured the “R75? motorcycle complete with a sidecar for the German military. In 1983, BMW launched the “K-Series” of motorcycles with water-cooled engines. BMW motorcycles are known for their quiet ride, and for extremly high quality. They are at the top end of the motorcycle market in both technology and price.

BMW Passenger Cars

The smallest modern BMW is the “1-Series,” which was launched in 2004. This small car shares much in common with the BMW Mini from theUnited Kingdom. It competes against other small cars such as the Volkswagen A-Class (the Polo, Golf, New Beetle and Jetta) and the small Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The BMW “1-Series” is available as a Coupé or as a 4-Door Hatchback.

The next step up is the BMW “3-Series,” a highly successful compact car launched in 1975. The 3-Series is currently available as a Coupé, as a 4-DoorSedanor as a 4-Door Station Wagon. TheSedanis available yet again with a high performance “ZHP” tuning package known as the “E46 Generation.”

The BMW “5-Series” is a highly successful mid-sized car. It is available as a 4-DoorSedanor as a 4-Door Station Wagon. TheSedanis also available with a high performance tuning package known as the “M Sport Package.”

The BMW “6-Series” is a very successful grand touring luxury sport coupé, which competes with such cars as the Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class. The 6-Series comes as either a Coupé or as a Convertible.

The BMW “7-Series” is a full-sized luxury sedan, which competes with such cars as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Audi A8 and the Volkswagen Phaeton Sedan.

The BMW “X-Series” includes the X3, the X5 and the X6 SUVs (sport utility vehicles). The X3 is a smaller SUV, while the X5 is a mid-sized luxury SUV. The X6 is a “Crossover” Coupé SUV.

The BMW “Z-Series” is BMW’s small Coupé and Roadster platform, or a sports car.

BMW is active in racing, just like other car companies fromGermany. BMW also has large subsidiaries located inSouth AfricaandIndia.

Adam Opel, G.m.b.H. (of Rüsselsheim, Germany)

Adam Opel, G.m.b.H. is another great German car company, although they are no longer independent. They are the largest non-American subsidiary of General Motors Corporation, and represent General Motors throughout much of Europe andAfrica, with even wider reach through their design and engineering. The company was founded by Adam Opel on January 21, 1863. At first, they manufactured household goods, and were a major maker of sewing machines. Adam Opel died in 1895, by which time his company was a leader in both sewing machines and bicycles. In 1898, Opel joined with Lutzmann of Germany to manufacture the “Opel-Lutzmann” car until 1900. In 1900, Opel joined withDarracq,S.A.ofFranceto manufacture the “Opel-Darracq” 2-cylinder automobile. By 1907, the cars were simply called “Opel,” and by 1913 Opel wasGermany’s best selling car. General Motors Corporation ofDetroit,Michigan(USA) was so impressed with Opel, that they purchased 80% of the company’s shares in March of 1929. By 1931, this increased to 100% GM ownership of Adam Opel.

Adam Opel G.m.b.H. aus Rüsselsheim ist auch deutsch, aber gehört zu General Motors Corporation aus Amerika.  Opel ist die größte Tochterfirma von General Motors außerhalb der Vereinigten Staaten, besonders einflußreich in Europa und Afrika.  Die Firma wurde am 21. Januar 1863 von Adam Opel gegründet.  Zuerst hatte Opel Haushaltsgüter wie Nähmaschinen und Fahrräder hergestellt.  Adam Opel ist im Jahre 1895 gestorben.  Von 1898 bis 1900 hat seine Firma den “Opel-Lutzmann” Personenkraftwagen hergestellt, und von 1900 bis 1907 den “Opel-Darracq” Zwei-zylinder PKW aus Deutschland und Frankreich fabriziert.  Ab 1907 waren die PKWs unter den Namen “Opel” bekannt, und im Jahre 1913 war Opel Deutschlands beliebteste Automarke.  Im Jahre 1929 hat General Motors Corporation 80 Prozent von Adam Opel erworben, und im Jahre 1931 waren es schon 100 Prozent.  Derzeit bilden Adam Opel aus Deutschland und Vauxhall aus Großbrittanien General Motors Europa.

Many GM models around the world have been or are Opel designs, which GM uses due to Opel’s high quality German engineering. The Opel Corsa, Astra, Vectra and Omega models are sold worldwide under both the Opel name brand and other GM name brands. These other GM brands using Opel models include Vauxhall of the United Kingdom, Holden of Australia, Saturn of the USA, Pontiac of the USA, Chevrolet of the USA, Cadillac of the USA and Daewoo of South Korea. The Opel Omega is the Cadillac Catera Sedan. The Saturn Astra, Sky, Aura and Vue models are all Opel designs. The same holds true for the Pontiac LeMans. Opel was sold under its own name in theUnited Statesfrom 1958 until 1975, represented through Buick dealerships. Their most popular models in America were the Opel Kadett (my parents owned a 1969 Opel Kadett Station Wagon), the Opel Manta and the Opel GT. Opel also owns the rights to the Wartburg name brand from the former Eastern Germany.

General Motors Corporation employs more than 284,000 people worldwide, more than 56,000 of whom are still in theUnited States.

Other Orphan Brands from Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Orphan (dormant or dead) brands from Germany include the likes of Adler (a former luxury brand and the 4th largest auto company in Germany before World War Two), Glas (Hans Glas was purchased by BMW of Munich), Goggomobil (part of the Hans Glas Company), Pfeil, Lutzmann, Dürkopp, Krupp (the large German steel conglomerate used to make cars as well), Sperber, Szawe, Bergmann, Simson Supra, N.A.G., Rhemag, Mauser (the German armaments conglomerate used to make cars), Stolle, Phänomen, Presto, Hanomag (they used to make both passenger cars and large commercial trucks), Mannesmann, Brennabor and Maico (another former manufacturer of “micro cars”).

Andere ehemalige Kraftwagenmarken aus Deutschland sind Adler (Luxusautos und Deutschlands viertgrößter Autohersteller vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg), Glas (Hans Glas wurde von BMW aus München erworben), Goggomobil (Kleinautos die Hans Glas gehörten), Pfeil, Lutzmann (ehemaliger Bündnisparter von Adam Opel), Dürkopp, Krupp (Deutschlands größte Stahlfirma), Sperber, Szawe, Bermann, Simson Supra, N.A.G. Rhemag, Mauser (ein großer deutscher Waffenhersteller), Stolle, Phänomen, Presto, Hanomag (“Hannoversche Maschinenbau A.G.”), Mannesmann, Brennabor und Maico (Kleinwagen dem Goggomobil ähnlich).  Ehemalige Automarken der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (Ostdeutschland) sind Stoewer, IFA (Institut für Automobilbau), Wartburg (nach der Wiedervereinigung von Adam Opel erworben), Trabant (gehört derzeit dem Spielwarenhersteller Herpa) und AWZ (Autowerk Zwickau).  Nach der deutschen Wiedervereinigung wurden Trabant und AWZ von Volkswagen A.G. aus Wolfsburg erworben.  Ehemalige Automarken aus Österreich sind Lohner (am Anfang seiner Karriere arbeitete Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. bei Lohner), Maja (Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche hatte Rennsportwagen für Maja entwickelt), Steyr (baut noch Geländewagen für das Militär), Marcus (älter noch als Daimler-Benz), Perl, Austro-Daimler, Puch (baut noch Mofas = “Motorisiertes Fahrrad”), Gräf & Stift (Luxusautos besonders für die kaiserliche und königliche Familie Habsburg-Lothringen) und Denzel (Sportwagen auf Volkswagen Käfer Basis).  Ehemalige Autohersteller aus der Schweiz sind Pic-Pic und Monteverdi (Luxus-Sportwagen).

Orphan brands from the former “German Democratic Republic” (i.e.,East Germany) include the likes of Stoewer, Ifa, Wartburg (purchased by the Adam Opel Division of General Motors), Trabant and AWZ (”Auto Werk Zwickau”). The latter two brands were purchased by Volkswagen.

Orphan brands from Austria include Lohner (Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. began his automotive career at this company), Maja (Ferdinand Porsche, Sr. built racing cars for them), Steyr (they still manufacture military vehicles), Marcus (even older than Daimler-Benz), Perl, Austro-Daimler (the former Austrian subsidiary of Daimler-Benz of Germany), Puch (they still make mopeds), Gräf & Stift (a luxury car maker which built limousines for Austro-Hungarian royalty) and Denzel (they made cars mechanically similar to the air-cooled German Volkswagen).

Orphan brands fromSwitzerlandinclude both Pic-Pic and Monteverdi (they made very expensive sports cars such as the Monteverdi Hai). “Hai” is German for “shark.” Monteverdi means “GreenMountain” in English.

The European Automotive Industry

Germanyis the undisputed economic “core” of the newEurope. What do I mean by this? Quite simply, the Federal Republic of Germany has been the economic “locomotive” ofEuropesince soon after the end of the Second World War. It is for this reason that the new European Central Bank is based in Frankfurt, and the new “Euro” currency is largely based upon the old German Mark (”Deutschmark”).  Auto companies based in Europe have 46% of the global auto market, and 11% of the market in theUSA.  Asian auto companies now hold 41% of the worldwide market, and 45% of the market in theUnited States.  American auto companies (which were once very dominant, holding 92% of the global market back in 1947) are now in last place, and continuing to fall.  They hold just 13% of the worldwide market and 44% of the market within theUSA.

Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist der wirtschafliche Kern Europas, und das Zweitgrößte Exportland der Welt.  Die Europäische Union hat die größte Wirtschaft der Welt, und deren Währung (der Euro) ist hauptsächlich auf der ehemaligen deutschen Mark basiert.  Derzeit haben Europäische Kraftwagenhersteller einen globalen Marktanteil von 46 Prozent.  Die größte Autogruppe Europas ist Volkswagen A.G. aus Wolfsburg, gefolgt von Daimler A.G. aus Stuttgart, Peugeot aus Frankreich, Fiat-Chrysler aus Italien, Renault aus Frankreich, Adam Opel aus Rüsselsheim, BMW aus München, Volvo aus Schweden, Avtovaz aus Rußland, GAZ aus Rußland, Saab aus Schweden und UAZ aus Rußland.  Renault S.A. aus Frankreich besitzt eine Mehrheit von Nissan aus Japan.  Deren Mutterfirma RenaultNissan B.V. ist im Niederlande zu Hause.  Renault verkauft etwa 2,6 Millionen Kraftwagen im Jahr, und Nissan mehr als 3,4 Millionen.  Avtovaz (“Lada”) aus Rußland ist Bündnisparter von Renault, und verkauft weltweit fast 0,6 Millionen Kraftwagen im Jahr.  Lada aus Rußland war ursprünglich ein in Rußland gebauter Fiat.  Zur Zeit der Unterzeichnung des Vertrages (vor vielen Jahren) zwischen Fiat aus Italien und Lada aus Rußland hat Fiat vergessen den Rußen ein Export (von Rußland) Verbot zu geben.  Lada Automobile wurden eventuell weit und breit hinter den Eisernen Vorhang gekauft.  Die Lada Autos haben aber schwer gelitten weil die Straßen in den meisten Ländern im Osten viel zu wünschen übrig ließen.  Die “Lada Stadt” in Rußland war Togliatti.  Herr Togliatti war Chef der Kommunistischen Partei Italiens.  Ladas waren auch in Kanada erhältlich.  Der Vorsitzende von RenaultNissan B.V. ist Carlos Ghosn, geboren in Brasilien.  Seine Eltern kamen aus dem Libanon.  Die Autogruppe RenaultNissan B.V. umfaßt die Marken Renault (Frankreich), Irisbus (Passagierbusse aus Frankreich), Dacia (Rumänien), Samsung (Südkorea), Nissan (Japan), Nissan Diesel (Lastkraftwagen aus Japan), Infiniti (Luxusautos aus Japan), Lada (Rußland) und Mack (Lastkraftwagen aus Amerika).  Die Gruppe beschäftigt etwa 312,900 Angestellte weltweit.  Renault wurde im Jahre 1898 von den drei Brüder Louis, Marcel und Fernand Renault gegründet.  Deren Vater besaß eine Textilfirma, aber die drei Brüder haben ihren ersten Personenkraftwagen im Jahre 1898 (der “1 CV”) entwickelt.  Der erste Renault Rennsportwagen wurde im Jahre 1903 hergestellt.  Zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkrieges hat Renault den revolutionären Panzerkampfwagen “FT-17” im Jahre 1917 entwickelt.

RenaultNissan, B.V. (of France)

The largest automotive group in Franceis RenaultNissan, B.V., which has its corporate headquarters inFrance(but is incorporated in theNetherlandsfor tax and legal purposes).  The Renault division (which includes Renault,Irisbus,Dacia, Samsung and Mack) sells more than 2.6 million new vehicles per year worldwide.  The Nissan division (which includes Nissan and Infiniti) sells over 3.4 million new vehicles per year.  The Lada division ofRussiasells more than 570,000 new vehicles worldwide.

They are led by their highly talented Chief Executive Officer, Carlos Ghosn. He was born in Brazil of Lebanese Christian parents. They own the active brand names of Renault (France), Irisbus (passenger buses fromFrance),Dacia(economy cars fromRomania), Samsung (South Korea), Nissan (Japan), Nissan Diesel (trucks fromJapan), Infiniti (luxury cars fromJapan), Lada (economy cars fromRussia) and Mack (large commercial trucks from theUSA).  RenaultNissan employs more than 312,900 people worldwide, and ranks number one inFrance.

Renault was founded by the three brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand Renault in 1898. Their father owned a textiles firm, but the brothers decided to manufacture motor cars. Their first car in 1898 was called the “1 CV,” or “One Horsepower” in English. In 1903, they entered the prestigious field of motor racing. Renault produced sedans, taxi-cabs and buses for the civilian market, and of course supplied the French armed forces during World War One (1914-1918). They developed the revolutionary new Renault FT-17 tank for the French Army in 1917. After the First World War, Renault diversified into agricultural and industrial machinery production as well. They built passenger cars all the way from small economy models up to very large luxury cars for the well-to-do. In between 1940-1945, Renault factories worked to supply the German armed forces, which had conqueredFrancein July 1940. Renault’s post-World War Two fortunes were launched with the small and economical “4 CV” sedan in 1946. A larger and more luxurious model was the Renault Fregate, built from 1951-1960. The Renault Dauphine replaced the Renault 4 CV in 1956, and remained in production until 1967. Another small economy car was the Renault 4, in production from 1961 until 1993 (in this case, the “4? was a model, but not a horsepower number). The Renault 8 and the Renault 10 were two similar and small family cars built from 1962 until 1971. The somewhat larger Renault 16 4-Door FastbackSedanwas sold from 1965 until 1980.

Starting in 1962, Renault took more of an interest in American Motors Corporation (AMC) of theUSA, when Renault built AMC’s “Rambler” cars inBelgium, for the West European market. AMC was the great American independent auto company based inKenosha,Wisconsin(formerly the home of its predecessors Nash-Kelvinator and the Jeffrey Motor Company). Unfortunately, the Renault-AMC partnership did not endure, and AMC was sold to the Chrysler Corporation in 1987, where it was renamed as the “Eagle Division.” In the year 2000, Renault purchased 51,4% of the shares in the Nissan Motor Company, Limited ofJapan. Nissan in turn owns a 15% (but non-voting) stake inRenault,S.A.ofFrance. The two companies together are now incorporated as RenaultNissan, B.V. in theNetherlands. In February 2008, Renault acquired a 50% equity interest in VAZ of Russia, which manufactures the Lada, Samara and Niva brand names. VAZ isRussia’s largest auto company. Renault also owns 99% of Dacia of Romania, and a 20% controlling interest in the Volvo Group ofSweden.Daciamanufactures popular economy cars, such as the new Dacia Logan Sedan. This car is very popular throughoutEurope, due to its low base purchase price of 6,000 Euros (circa US $9,300). The Volvo Group of Sweden is now separate from Volvo Cars (the latter being owned by the Ford Motor Company of the USA), and manufactures large commercial trucks under the Volvo, Renault, Mack, Irisbus and Nissan Diesel brand names. Renault does not sell its core Renault brand in theUSA, but they do sell the Nissan, Nissan Diesel, Volvo Truck and Mack Truck brands in theUnited StatesandCanada. They do sell Renault in México, so hopefully Renault itself will eventually return toNorth Americaas well.

Peugeot, S.A. (of France)

The other great independent European auto maker based inFranceisPeugeot,S.A., which owns the active brands of Peugeot and Citroën, as well as the dormant Alsatian French brand of Mathis.Alsace(”Elsaß” or “Elsass” in German) isFrance’s most ethnically German province, and home to the European Parliament inStrasbourg(”Straßburg” or “Strassburg” in German). The Mathis was an interesting post-World War Two design, which featured 3 wheels (one in the front and two in the rear) and a 700 ccm (cubic centimeters) boxer-motor. Other dormant brands of the group include Serpollet (France), Panhard-Levassor (France), Rochet-Schneider (France-Germany), Chenard-Walcker (France), Hotchkiss (France), Simca (France), Sunbeam (United Kingdom), Talbot (United Kingdom), Humber (United Kingdom), Hillman (United Kingdom), Singer (United Kingdom), Commer (United Kingdom), Karrier (United Kingdom), Thrupp & Maberly (United Kindom) and Paykan (Iran). The British brands form what used to be the “Rootes Group” of theUnited Kingdom.Peugeot,S.A.builds and sells more than 2.2 million new vehicles per year, making them number one inFrance.  They employ more than 211,700 people worldwide.

Peugeot S.A. aus Frankreich ist größer als Renault, aber nicht so groß wie RenaultNissan.  Derzeit verkauft die Firma weltweit etwa 2.2 Millionen Kraftwagen im Jahr unter den Marken Peugeot und Citroën.  Die ehemalige Marke Mathis (aus Elsaß im deutschsprachigen Ostfrankreich) gehört auch Peugeot S.A.  Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg hat Mathis einen dreirad PKW mit einem 700 ccm (quadratzentimeter) Boxermotor hergestellt.  Sonstige ehemalige Marken der Gruppe Peugeot S.A. sind Serpollet (Frankreich), Panhard-Levassor (Frankreich), Rochet-Schneider (Frankreich und Deutschland), Chenard-Walcker (Frankreich), Hotchkiss (Frankreich), Simca (Frankreich), Sunbeam (England), Talbot (England), Humber (England), Hillman (England), Singer (England), Commer (England), Karrier (England), Thrupp & Maberly (England) und Paykan (Persien).  Die Marken aus Großbrittannien gehörten der ehemaligen Autogruppe Rootes.  Derzeit beschäftigt Peugeot S.A. weltweit 211,700 Angestellte. 

The Peugeot family of the Free County of Burgundy (”Franche Comte” in French, or “Freigrafschaft Burgund” in German) foundedPeugeot, the 1700s. This province used to be part of theHoly Roman Empireof the German Nation. The company began by manufacturing and selling various products such as coffee grinders, dresses, steel rods, umbrellas, wire wheels and bicycles. Armand Peugeot built his first motor car in 1889, and under the “Serpollet” brand of Leon Serpollet.

Modern Peugeot models include the 107 / 1007 (a micro-car), the 206 / 207 (a “supermini” hatchback sedan, coupé, convertible and station wagon), the 307 / 308 (a small family car which comes as a sedan, hatchback, coupé or station wagon), the 407 (a compact car which comes as a sedan, coupé, station wagon or SUV), the 607 (a mid-sized luxury sedan) and the 807 (a minivan).

Peugeot purchased its fellow French auto maker of Citroen in 1974. Citroen had been founded by one André Citroen in 1919. They once built a a very famous and successful mass-market car known as the “2 CV,” which was powered by a 375 ccm up to a 652 ccm (cubic centimeter) 2-cylinder boxer-motor. InGermany, this popular little car was nicknamed the “Ente” (”duck” in German). The “Ente” was built and sold from 1948 until production ceased in 1990.

The modern product line of Citroen includes the C1 / C2 (a very small 2-door hatchback), the C3 (a small 4-door hatchback, coupé or convertible), the Berlingo (a small minivan), the C4 (a somewhat larger 2 or 4-door hatchback), the C4 / Xsara Picasso (a 4-door subcompact hatchback), the Grand C4 Picasso (a minivan), the C6 (a mid-sized luxury sedan), the C8 (a larger minivan) and the C-Crosser (a “cross-over” SUV).

Peugeot has not sold cars inNorth Americasince 1982, but they are active in México. Hopefully, they will return to theUSAandCanadawith both Peugeot and Citroen.

Fiat, S.p.a. (of Turin, Italy)

Fiat is by far the largest automotive group based inItaly.  They were founded by Giovanni Agnelli in 1899.  Their subsidiaries include the modern brand names of Fiat, Maserati, Abarth, Alfa-Romeo, Lancia, Iveco (trucks fromItaly), Seddon Atkinson (trucks from theUnited Kingdom), Magirus (trucks fromGermany), Zastava-Yugo (Serbia) and Polski Fiat-FSO (Poland).  Total worldwide unit sales are now over 2.1 million vehicles per year including the recent acquisition of bankrupt Chrysler Corporation of theUnited States.  The Fiat Group employs 223,000 people (of whom 111,000 are outside ofItaly) within 1,063 subsidiaries in 61 countries.

Fiat s.p.a. ist der größte und einzige unabhängige Kraftwagenhersteller aus Italien.  Die Firma wurde im Jahre 1899 von Giovanni Angelli gegründet, und umfaßt die Marken Fiat, Maserati, Abarth, Alfa-Romeo, Lancia, Iveco (Lastkraftwagen aus Italien), Seddon Atkinson (Lastkraftwagen aus Großbrittannien), Magirus (Lastkraftwagen aus Deutschland), Zastava-Yugo (Serbien), Polski Fiat-FSO (Polen), Chrysler (USA), Dodge (USA) und Jeep (USA).  Die Gruppe Fiat verkauft mehr als 2,1 Millionen Kraftwagen im Jahr, und beschäftigt weltweit ewta 223,000 Angestellte, wovon 111,000 außer Italien tätig sind.  GAZ aus Nishni-Novgorod, Rußland wurde ursprünglich im Jahre 1929 als Zusammenarbeit zwischen Sowjetrußland und Ford Motor Company aus Dearborn, Michigan (USA) gegründet.  Derzeit verkauft GAZ mehr als 187,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr – Modelle wie die Wolga Limousine und das Ataman SUV (Geländewagen).

60,000 likely job cuts inItalywere announced on January 26, 2009.  Fiat, S.p.a. was ominously downgraded to “junk bond” debtor status by Moody’s Investor Services on February 23, 2009 – which brings their eventual survival into serious question.

General Motors Corporation of theUSAmaintained an equity stake in Fiat from 2000 until 2005, but no longer does.  Fiat used to be on the verge of bankruptcy, but is now back to marginal profitability.  Ferrari and Maserati are currently in North America (theUSAandCanada), and Alfa-Romeo plans to return to the North American market very shortly.  Fiat recently purchased a controlling interest in bankrupt Chrysler Corporation of theUnited States.

GAZ (of Nishni-Novgorod, Russia)

GAZ of Russia was initally founded in 1929 as a joint venture between the government of the former Soviet Union and the Ford Motor Company of theUSA.  Today, GAZ is independent of Ford.  Their products now include the “Volga”Sedanand the “Ataman” SUV.  GAZ sold 69,000 new vehicles in 2009.

UAZ (of Ulyanovsk, Russia)

UAZ of Russia was founded in 1941, and now sells more than 72,000 new vehicles per year.  Their modern products include the UAZ 452 Van, the UAZ 469 SUV and the much more contemporary UAZ Patriot SUV.

UAZ aus Ulyanowsk, Rußland wurde im Jahre 1941 gegründet, und verkauft etwa 72,000 Lastkraftwagen und SUV im Jahr.  Europa hat auch einige kleinere Kraftwagenhersteller.  Zum Beispiel Morgan, AC Cars und TVR (Luxussportwagen aus Großbrittanien), Spyker aus Holland (Luxussportwagen), DeTomaso aus Italien (Luxussportwagen), Koenigsegg (Luxussportwagen aus Norwegen und Schweden) und Steyr-Puch (hauptsächlich Militargeländewagen aus Österreich).  Derzeit gehört die schwedische PKW-Marke Koenigsegg.  Der chinesische Kraftwagenhersteller Beijing-AIG ist Aktienbestizer von Koenigsegg, und wird PKW in China unter dessen Marke (Beijing-AIG) herstellen.

Other small European vehicle companies

Other very small but still active independent European vehicle companies include the likes of Morgan (from theUnited Kingdom), AC Cars (from theUK), TVR (theUK), Spyker (theNetherlands), Steyr-Puch (Austria) and DeTomaso (Italy).  Morgan, AC Cars, TVR and DeTomaso all specialize in exclusive and expensive sports cars.  Spyker does likewise, and has also introduced an SUV.  Steyr-Puch builds commercial vehicles, largely for military use.  Spyker of theNetherlands (a new manufacturer of luxury sports cars) recently purchased Saab Auto from General Motors Corporation of theUnited States.  Saab Auto is separate from the Swedish Saab firm which manufactures military aircraft.

Asian Automotive Groups

Asian automotive groups were in last place right after the end of World War Two, but today they have risen to first place in the world, ahead of both Europe andAmericain terms of total global market share.  The largest automotive business groups based in Asia today (ranked in terms of size) include Toyota of Japan, Hyundai of South Korea, Honda of Japan, Suzuki of Japan, Mitsubishi of Japan, Mazda of Japan, Tata of India, Chana of China, Beijing-AIG of China, Dongfeng of China, Chery of China, SAIC-Nanjing of China, Brilliance of China, Harbin-Hafei of China, Geely of China, Anhui-Jianghuai of China, Mahindra of India, Great Wall Motor of China, Jiangxi-Changhe of China, BYD of China, China National of China, Fujian of China, Shannxi Auto of China and Shandong Kaima of China.

Die größten unabhängigen Kraftwagengruppen aus Asien sind Toyota (Japan), Hyundai (Südkorea), Honda (Japan), Suzuki aus Japan (derzeit hält Volkswagen A.G. einen Anteil von 20 Prozent), Mitsubishi (Japan), Mazda (Japan), Tata (Indien), Chana (China), Beijing-AIG (China), Dongfeng (China), Chery (China), SAIC-Nanjing aus China (Bündnisparter von Volkswagen A.G. aus Deutschland), Brilliance (China), Harbin-Hafei (China), Geely (China), Anhui-Jianghuai (China), Mahindra (Indien), Great Wall Motor (China), Jiangxi-Changhe (China), BYD (China), China National (China), Fujian (China), Shannxi Auto (China) und Shandong Kaima (China).  Toyota Motor Company aus Japan wurde im Jahre 1937 gegründet, und umfaßt die Kraftwagenmarken Toyota, Toyopet (Kleinautos), Lexus (Luxusautos), Scion, Daihatsu (Kleinwagen), Fuji-Subaru (Wagen mit Boxermotor ausgestattet) und Hino (Lastkraftwagen).  Die Gruppe beschäftigt weltweit 299,300 Angestellte in 522 Tochterfirmen.  Eine wichtige Zusammenarbeit zwischen Volkswagen A.G. aus Deutschland und Toyota aus Japan ist der Toyota Hilux Pritschenwagen (als der Volkswagen Taro Pritschenwagen in Europa bekannt).

Toyota Motor Company of Japan

The Toyota Group is among the largest automotive groups in the entire world, with the active brand names ofToyota, Toyopet, Lexus, Scion, Daihatsu, Fuji-Subaru and Hino (trucks fromJapan).  One important joint venture between Toyota of Japan and Volkswagen of Germany is for the Toyota Hilux Pickup Truck / Volkswagen Taro Pickup Truck. Toyotawas founded in 1937, and employs more than 299,300 people in 522 subsidiaries. Toyotais currently in the process of developing a top-secret solar-powered automobile (as of early 2009).  Toyota recently announced plans to cut vehicle production in Japan by 50%, to lay off 3,000 employees in Japan and an additional 1,000 in the United States - where all seven of their North American factories temporarily ceased production for one full month. Toyota’s annual global sales exceed 8.42 million vehicles including the Daihatsu and Hino brands.

Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea

Hyundai of South Korea sells the active Korean brands of Hyundai and Kia.  Their annual global sales volume is now more than 5.74 million new vehicles.  They have recently made great strides in raising their quality, and in entering more market segments.  Like the Japanese before them, the Koreans started in the mass-market segment, but have since expanded into the middle market segment (more upscale products).  The Hyundai Motor Company was founded in 1967, and employs more than 68,000 people worldwide.

Hyundai Motor Company aus Südkorea wurde im Jahre 1967 gegründet, und beschäftigt weltweit 68,000 Angestellte.  Derzeit ist Hyundai der zweitgrößte Kraftwagenhersteller aus Asien, und umfaßt die Marken Hyundai und Kia.  Hyundai-Kia verkauft im Jahr mehr als 5,74 Millionen Kraftwagen.  Honda Motor Company aus Japan wurde im Jahre 1948 gegründet, und verkauft fast 2.9 Millionen Kraftwagen im Jahr.  Die Gruppe besitzt die Marken Honda und Acura (Luxusautos), und baut auch Motorräder und Mofas (“Motor-Fahrräder). Honda gehört zum japanischen Keiretsu (“Geschäftsgruppe” oder auch “Geschäftsbündnis” auf deutsch) von Mitsubishi, und beschäftigt etwa 167,200 Angestellte weltweit.  Mitsubishi ist eines der größten “Handelshäuser” aus Asien.

Honda Motor Company of Japan

The Honda Motor Company ofJapan sells 3.6 million new vehicles per year worldwide, and own the active brand names of both Honda and Acura.  They prefer not to merge with other companies or to purchase other brand names, but concentrate on internally-generated growth.  Honda manufactured motorcycles and motor-scooters prior to making passenger cars and light trucks, and they still do so today.  Honda is a member of the Japanense “Keiretsu” (”business alliance” in English) lead by the huge Mitsubishi trading house.  Such trading houses (or business groups) are common throughoutAsia.  Honda was founded in 1948, and employs more than 167,200 people.

Suzuki Motor Company of Japan

Suzuki used to be partly owned by General Motors Corporation of theUSA, but no longer is.  They sell more than 2,3 million new vehicles per year worldwide.  They also sell motorcycles.  Their passenger cars tend to compete in the more affordable market segment.  In the past, they also used the brand name “Suzulight.”  Suzuki was founded in 1909, and employs more than 13,700 people.  Recent news reports say that Volkswagen of Germany may purchase a ten percent equity stake in Suzuki of Japan, which if concluded would make Volkswagen-Porsche the largest automotive group in the world.

Suzuki aus Japan war ehemals in Partnerschaft mit General Motors Corporation aus Amerika, aber nicht mehr.  Derzeit besitzt Volkswagen A.G. aus Deutschland 20 Prozent von Suzuki.  Suzuki verkauft etwa 2,3 Millionen Kraftwagen im Jahr, und wurde im Jahre 1909 gegründet.  Die Firma beschäftigt weltweit mehr als 13,700 Angestellte.  Mazda aus Japan ist Geschäftspartner von Ford Motor Company aus Dearborn, Michigan (USA), und verkauft mehr als 502,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr.  Die Firma wurde im Jahre 1920 gegründet, und beschäftigt weltweit mehr als 36,600 Angestellte.  Mitsubishi Motors aus Japan ist ehemaliger Geschäftsparter von Chrysler Corporation aus Amerika und auch Daimler A.G. aus Deutschland.  Mitsubishi verkauft etwa 122,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr, und beschäftigt weltweit mehr als 33,700 Angestellte.  Die Geschäftsgruppe Mitsubishi ist einer der größten sogenannten “Handelshäuser” aus Asien, die von einflußreichen und wohlhabenden Familien gegründet wurden.  Andere große asiatische Handelshäuser sind Sumitomo (Japan), Mitsui (Japan), Itochu (Japan), Tata (Indien), Mahindra (Indien), Murugappa (Indien), Bin Laden (Saudi Arabien), Hyundai (Südkorea), Samsung (Südkorea), SsangYong (Südkorea), Leong (Indonesien), Tan (die Philippinen), Sy (die Philippinen), und Zobel de Ayala (die Philippinen).

Mazda of Japan (an independent part of the Ford Motor Group)

Mazda of Japan is still partly owned by the Ford Motor Company of theUSA.  On their own, they sell more than 502,000 million new cars and light trucks per year worldwide.  If ranked separately, they would be the 6th largest automotive group based inAsia.  Mazda was founded in 1920, and employs more than 36,600 people.

Mazda announced a loss of US $920 million in 2009 – still more evidence of the emerging global socioeconomic collapse.

Mitsubishi Motors of Japan

Mitsubishi Motors of Japan used to be associated with (partly owned by) the Chrysler Corporation of theUSA, and most recently by Daimler, A.G. of Germany.  They are now independent, and doing better (making some money instead of losing very much money).  They are of course part of the huge Mitsubishi trading house (business group) ofJapan, which includes banking, trust services and other industrial enterprises.  They sell more than 122,000 million new cars per year worldwide.  Mitsubishi Motors was founded in 1970, and they employ more than 33,700 people.

Tata Motors of Bombay, India

Tata Motors of India belongs to the Tata Group,India’s number one trading house, or family-owned business group.  Tata recently purchased both Jaguar and Land-Rover from the Ford Motor Company of theUSA.  Things have come full circle – the former British colony ofIndiais now the owner of formerly English companies.  Tata also recently revealed its brand new (and internally developed) peoples’ car: the Tata Nano Sedan.  This revolutionary new car will retail for just US $2,500 (base price) inIndia, with the first customer deliveries taking place in July 2009.  Export markets are already planned, and even forWestern Europe.  Tata sells more than 1,028,000 new vehicles per year worldwide, and Tata Motors was founded in 1945.  The Tata Group is the largest private company inIndia, having been founded by the Tata family in 1868.  In 2007, the entire Tata Group employed 289,500 people.  They have operations in 85 countries on 6 continents, and gross more than US $28.9 Billion in annual sales.  These include 98 subsidiary companies in industries such as engineering, information technology (computer software), telecommunications, chemicals, energy, steel, automobiles, hotels and consumer goods.  Tata Motors is currently in the process of developing a compressed-air powered car, which will have a top speed of 90 miles per hour and will have a range of 1,000 miles in between charges – which should not take long to recharge (as of early 2009).  They hope to market the new car by 2010, and for less than US $20,000 per unit.  Tata Motors announced a profit of US $970 million in 2009.

Das Handelshaus der Familie Tata aus Indien stammt aus dem Jahre 1868, während dessen Tata Motors im Jahre 1945 gegründet wurde.  Die Geschäftsgruppe Tata beschäftigt weltweit 289,500 Angestellte, die in 85 Ländern auf sechs Kontinenten tätig sind.  Das Handelshaus Tata ist die größte Geschäftsgruppe Indiens, mit insgesamt 98 Tochterfirmen die im Ingenieurwesen, der Chemie, Informatik, Telekommunikation, der Stahlindustrie, Hotels und Konsumhandel tätig sind.  Tata Motors verkauft weltweit 1,028,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr unter den Marken Tata, Jaguar und Land-Rover.  Der neue Tata “Nano” Kleinwagen ist der am preisgünstige Neuwagen der Welt.

Chang’an Motors of Chungking, China

Chang’an Motors of Chungking, China is also known as “Chana” Motors.  They have a number of joint-ventures with Japanese, Western and other Chinese auto companies.  Models include the Suzuki Alto (a very small car with a 658 ccm engine), the Suzuki Cultus (known as the Suzuki Swift inNorth America), the Ford Focus, the Ford Fiesta and the Ford Mondeo Sedan.  Chana Motors sells more than 1,425,000 new vehicles per year.

Chang’an Motors was mentioned as the top contender to purchase Volvo cars of Sweden from the Ford Motor Company of the USA in January 2009 – yet more evidence of the changing global balance of power, which will leave countries such as Mainland China and India as the new world socioeconomic and geopolitical powers. Chinasurpassed theUSAto become the world’s largest retail vehicle market in January 2009.  TheUSAhad been the largest motor vehicle market since the days of the Model T Ford, or 1908.

Chang’an Motors aus Chungking, China verkauft etwa 1,425,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr, und ist Geschäftspartner von Suzuki aus Japan sowie der Ford Motor Company aus Dearborn, Michigan (USA).  Beijing-AIG aus China verkauft mehr als 684,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr, und ist Aktienbesitzer bei Koenigsegg aus Norwegen und Schweden.  Der Luxussportwagenhersteller Koenigsegg hat Saab aus Schweden von General Motors Corporation aus Amerika erworben.  Dongfeng Motor Corporation aus Wuhan, China wurde im Jahre 1968 gegründet, und ist Bündnispartner von Peugeot-Citroën aus Frankreich, Honda aus Japan, Nissan Diesel aus Japan (Lastkraftwagenhersteller), Hyundai-Kia aus Südkorea und Cummins aus Amerika (Dieselmaschinenhersteller).

Beijing-AIG of China

Beijing-AIG ofChinasells more than 684,000 new vehicles per year, and recently purchased an equity stake in Koenigsegg, itself a relatively new manufacturer of luxury sports cars owned by investors fromNorwayandSweden.  Koenigsegg now owns Saab Auto, which was purchased from General Motors Corporation of theUnited States.  GM had purchased Saab Auto from the famous Swedish Saab company which manufactures military aircraft.  Saab military aircraft are used by the air forces of bothSwedenandAustria.

Dongfeng Motor Corporation of Wuhan, China

Dongfeng Motor Corporation was founded in 1968.  They have numerous joint-ventures with other car companies, including Peugeot-Citroen, Honda, Nissan Diesel (a truck brand), Hyundai-Kia and Cummins (an American diesel-engine manufacturer).  Apart from these joint-ventures, Dongfeng sells more than 663,000 new vehicles per year.

Chery Automobile Company, Limited of Wuhu, China

Chery Automobile Company, Limited ofWuhu,Chinawas founded in 1997.  They commenced automotive production in 1999 by building the SEATToledo(a Volkswagen Group product) under license.  They began exporting their products toSyriain 2001, thus becomingChina’s first automobile exporter.  Chery also became the first Chinese car company to build a plant overseas in 2003, located inIran.  A CKD (completely knocked down assembly plant) facility was opened inRussiain 2005, a plant inMalaysiain 2006 and one inUruguayin 2007.  Chery makes more than 508,000 new vehicles per year.

Chery Automobile Company aus Wuhu, China wurde im Jahre 1997 als Bündnispartner von SEAT (die VW Tochtergesellschaft aus Spanien) gegründet.  Chery exportiert seit 2001 nach Syrien, und hat 2003 eine Fabrik in Iran gegründet.  Andere Chery Montagefabriken sind in Rußland (2005), Malaysien (2006) und derzeit auch in Uruguay (2007) zu finden.  Die Firma verkauft mehr als 508,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr.  Harbin-Hafei Motor Company aus China wurde im Jahre 1994 gegründet.  Die Firma verkauft etwa 226,000 Lastkraftwagen (Transporter und Pritschenwagen) im Jahr, und beschäftigt 5,000 Angestellte.  Harbin baut Flugzeuge, und Hafei die Kraftfahrzeuge.  SAIC (“Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) – Nanjing ist der älteste Kraftwagenhersteller in China, der im Jahre 1947 gegründet wurde.  SAIC-Nanjing ist Geschäftspartner von Volkswagen A.G. aus Deutschland und auch General Motors Corporation aus Amerika.  Die Marken Roewe (vormals “Rover” aus Großbrittannien), Ssangyong (aus Südkorea), Soyat (chinesisch für “SEAT”), Nanjing, Yuejin, MG (“Morris Garages” aus Großbrittannen) sowie die ehemaligen britischen Marken Wolseley, Austin, Morris, Vanden Plas, American Austin, Princess und Sterling gehören zu SAIC-Nanjing.  Die Gruppe verkauft mehr als 3,560,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr und beschäftigt 16,000 Angestellte.

Harbin-Hafei Motor Company of China

Harbin-Hafei Motor Company was founded in 1994.  They manufacture Microvans, Pickup Trucks and Minivans.  They sell more than 226,000 new vehicles per year.Harbinmanufactures aircraft, while Hafei builds motor vehicles.  Hafei has 5,000 employees.

SAIC-Nanjing Automobile Corporation of China

SAIC-Nanjing was formed out of the merger between SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) and Nanjing Automobile Corporation.  SAIC has joint-ventures with General Motors Corporation of theUSAand with the Volkswagen Group ofGermany.  They own the active brands of Roewe (formerly known as “Rover” of theUnited Kingdom) and Ssangyong of South Korea.

Nanjingwas founded in 1947, making it one ofChina’s oldest auto companies.  They have had joint-ventures with Fiat of Italy, Iveco (Fiat’s truck brand), Isuzu of Japan and SEAT (the Spanish subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group ofGermany).  They own the MG-Rover Group, formerly of theUnited Kingdom.  MG-Rover givesNanjingownership of the brands of MG (Morris Garages), Wolseley,Austin, Morris, Vanden Plas, American Austin, Princess andSterling.  Their Chinese brands include Soyat, Yuejin andNanjing.

SAIC-Nanjing sells more than 3,560,000 new vehicles per year.  They have more than 16,000 employees.

Geely Automobile of China

Geely was founded in 1986 as a manufacturer of refrigerators.  By 1989, they expanded into decoration materials, and then into motorcycles parts by 1992.  They built their first complete motorcycles in 1994 and automobiles in 1998.  Geely is very aggressive with planning for export markets, and they already sell their products inPeru,Venezuela,Romania,Pakistan,South AfricaandBangladesh.  Geely sells more than 330,000 new vehicles per year.

Geely Automobile aus China wurde im Jahre 1986 als Kühlschrankhersteller gegründet.  Im Jahre 1992 hat sie ihr erstes Motorrad entwickelt, und im Jahre 1998 ihren ersten Kraftwagen.  Die Firma verkauft etwa 330,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr, und sie exportiert derzeit nach Peru, Venezuela, Rumänien, Pakistan, Südafrika und Bangladesch.  Brilliance China Auto aus Shenyang, China wurde im Jahre 1992 gegründet, und ist Bündnispartner von BMW, A.G. aus Deutschland.  Die Firma verkauft mehr als 314,000 Personenkraftwagen (Limousinen, Kleinwagen und Coupés) im Jahr.  Die Firma Anhui-Jianghuai aus China verkauft etwa 336,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr.  Jiangxi-Changhe Car Company aus Changnan, China ist Bündnispartner von Suzuki aus Japan, und exportiert Kraftwagen nach Mexiko und Venezuela.  Jiangxi-Changhe ist eine Tochterfirma von der Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (ein Militärhubschrauberhersteller der chinesischen Volksarmee).  Changhe verkauft mehr als 107,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr und beschäftigt 4,300 Angestellte.

Brilliance China Auto of Shenyang, China

Brilliance was founded in 1992, being incorporated in Bermuda (a British Colony in theAtlantic Ocean).  They currently have a joint venture with BMW of Germany, making sedans, hatchbacks and coupés.  They sell more than 314,000 new vehicles per year.

Anhui-Jianghuai of China

Anhui-Jianghuai ofChina has annual sales in excess of 336,000 new vehicles per year.

Jiangxi-Changhe Car Company of Changnan, China

Jiangxi-Changhe is based in the city ofChangnan,China.  They have a joint-venture project with Suzuki of Japan, and export vehicles to both México andVenezuela.  These include a subcompact car and a tiny minivan.  They are a subsidiary of Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation, which manufactures helicopters for the Chinese Army.  Apart from their joint-venture project, Changhe sells more than 107,000 new vehicles per year.  Changhe has 4,300 employees.

Mahindra & Mahindra, Limited of India

Mahindra & Mahindra was founded inBombay,Indiain 1945.  They manufacture off-road vehicles (small SUVs), small pickup trucks, Jeeps and tractors.  Their tractors are already being sold in theUnited States, the small pickup trucks will be introduced to the American market in 2010.  They have joint-venture projects with RenaultNissan (with both the Renault and the Nissan subsidiaries) and Navistar International of theUSA.  Apart from their joint-venture projects, they sell more than 288,000 new vehicles per year.  They have 13,000 employees.

Mahindra & Mahindra, Limited aus Mumbai (ehemals Bombay), Indien wurde im Jahre 1945 gegründet, und verkauft kleine Geländewagen (SUV), Pritschenwagen und Bauerntraktore.  Die Bauerntraktore werden nach Amerika exportiert, und die Pritschenwagen werden nach 2010 auch nach Amerika verkauft.  Mahindra & Mahindra ist Geschäftspartner von Renault aus Frankreich, Nissan aus Japan und Navistar International aus Amerika.  Die Firma verkauft etwa 288,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr und beschäftigt 13,000 Angestellte.  Great Wall Motor Company, Limited aus Baoding, China wurde im Jahre 1984 gegründet, und exportiert Kraftwagen nach 108 Länder.  Die Firma baut Geländewagen (SUV und Crossover SUV), Pritschenwagen, Kleinwagen und kleine Transporter.  Im Jahre 2007 hat die Firma eine Fabrikanlage in der Ukraine etabliert und hat Pläne auch eine Fabrik in Tatarstan (Rußland) zu bauen.  Great Wall Motor Company verkauft 226,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr und beschäftigt 10,000 Angestellte.  BYD Auto aus Xian, China wurde im Jahre 2003 gegründet, und verkauft kleine PKW.  Die Firma verkauft mehr als 800,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr, und ist eine Tochtergesellschaft eines Batterieherstellers.  “BYD” bedeutet “Build Your Dreams” auf englisch – “Bau Deine Träume” auf deutsch.

Great Wall Motor Company, Limited of Baoding, China

The Great Wall Motor Company was founded in 1984.  They manufacture Crossover SUVs (SUVs based upon a passenger car platform), SUVs, Pickup Trucks, City Cars and Compact MPVs (Multi-purpose Vehicles).  They already export their products to 108 countries around the world.  They established a plant in theUkrainein 2007, and plan to open another one inTatarstan,Russia.  They sell more than 226,000 new vehicles per year.  Roughly one-third of their vehicles are now sold outside ofChina.  They have 10,000 employees.

BYD Auto of Xian, China

BYD Auto was founded in 2003, and builds small passenger cars.  They sell more than 800,000 new vehicles per year.  They are a subsidiary of BYD Company, Limited, which manufactures rechargable batteries.  BYD the parent company is headquartered in the city ofShenzhen.  “BYD” stands for “Build Your Dreams” and is also the world’s largest producer of lithium batteries for electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

China National Auto Company

China National sells more than 120,000 new vehicles per year.

Die China National Auto Company aus der Volksrepublik China verkauft etwa 120,000 Kraftwagen im Jahr, und die Fujian Auto Company aus China mehr als 103,000 Einheiten.  Außer den drei großen amerikanischen Autogruppen (General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company und Chrysler Corporation) gibt es einige kleinere Firmen.  Navistar International Corporation aus Warrenville, Illinois (USA) wurde im Jahre 1902 gegründet, und beschäftigt 14,800 Angestellte.  Die Marken Navistar (große Lastkraftwagen), MaxxForce (Dieselmaschinen), IC Corporation (Schulbusse) und Workhorse (Fahrgestelle für große Wohnwagen und Transporter) gehören zu Navistar International.  Von 1961 bis 1980 hat die Firma den “International Scout” Geländewagen (SUV) hergestellt.  Navistar verkauft etwa 65,000 Kraftwagen in 90 Länder im Jahr.

Fujian Auto Company of China

The Fujian Auto Company ofChinasells more than 103,000 new vehicles per year.

Independent American Vehicle Groups

The great American “Independents” of the past are sadly no more.  In the post-World War Two era, these included the likes of American Motors Corporation (AMC), Studebaker-Packard Corporation, Willys-Overland, Kaiser-Frazer, Crosley and Tucker.  Nevertheless, there are some financially healthy but smaller American companies worth noting.  These include both Navistar International and Paccar, manufacturers of large commercial trucks.

Navistar International Corporation of Warrenville, Illinois (USA)

Navistar was originally founded as the International Harvester Corporation inChicago,Illinoisin 1902.  They now have more than 14,800 employees and build large commercial trucks under the “Navistar” brand name.  They also make “MaxxForce” diesel engines, “IC Corporation” school buses and “Workhorse” brand chassis for motor homes and step vans.  Years ago (from 1961 until 1980), they used to manufacture a nice off-road vehicle known as the “International Scout,” but no longer do.  They sell more than 65,000 new vehicles per year in over 90 countries around the world.  Navistar will post a financial loss for the 4th Quarter of 2008 – due to the emerging global socioeconomic collapse (which has merely begun).

Paccar, Inc. of Bellevue, Washington (USA)

Paccar was founded in 1905 inSeattle,Washington.  Today, they have more than 25,000 employees and sell over 58,000 new vehicles per year.  The “Kenworth” brand was established in 1912 and the “Peterbilt” brand was founded inDenton,Texasin 1938.  In 1981, Paccar purchased the “Foden Trucks” brand ofEngland, which was founded in the city ofSandbach,Cheshirein 1856.  In 1996, Paccar purchased “DAF Trucks” of theNetherlands, which was founded in the Dutch city ofEindhovenin 1928.  Then in 1998, Paccar acquired “Leyland Trucks” of Leyland, Lancashire (England).  Paccar is one of the few American companies still maintaining a healthly financial profit within a difficult economic environment.

Paccar, Inc. aus Bellevue, Washington (USA) wurde im Jahre 1905 in einem Vorort von Seattle gegründet.  Die Firma beschäftigt 25,000 Angestellte und verkauft mehr als 58,000 große Lastkraftwagen im Jahr.  Die Marken Kenworth (im Jahre 1912 gegründet), Peterbilt (im Jahre 1938 in Denton, Texas gegründet), Foden (im Jahre 1856 in Sandbach, Cheshire, England gegründet), DAF (im Jahre 1928 in Einhoven, die Niederlande gegründet) und Leyland (aus Lancashire, England) gehören zu Paccar.  Vorher haben DAF und Leyland kleinere Personenkraftwagen hergestellt.  DAF hat kleine PKW von 1958 bis 1974 gebaut.  Finanziell sind Navistar International und besonders Paccar, Inc. wesentlich besser gestellt, während die Autogruppen in Detroit, Michigan (besonders General Motors Corporation und Chrysler Corporation) derzeit finanzielle Probleme zu überwältigen haben.  Die Marken Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden (aus Australien), Daewoo (Südkorea), Opel (Deutschland) und Vauxhall (Großbrittannien) gehören zur General Motors Corporation.

Years ago, the “DAF” and “Leyland” brand names were well-known for their small passenger cars as well.  DAF cars were built from 1958 until 1974.


Of all the vehicle manufacturers in the world, the “Big 3? American companies fromDetroitare in the most dire financial straights.  Chrysler has already been in bankruptcy, with its most recent owners having lost one hundred percent of their equity investment in the company.  Fiat ofItalywill attempt to save Chrysler along with United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union and the American federal government.  In truth, Fiat is not in such good shape itself and is barely turning a profit.  The UAW has a very long history of too high wages and too generous non-wage benefits (notably pensions and healthcare).  Finally, the American government itself (on the federal, state and local levels) is for all intents and purposes not far from bankruptcy.  The plan to “save” General Motors is not much different than the plan for Chrysler.

General Motors Corporation (GM) of theUSAwill phase out the brand names of Saturn and Pontiac, and has sold the small Hummer Division to a Chinese heavy manufacturing firm.  This will leave General Motors with Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC in theUSA, with Holden inAustraliaand with Daewoo inSouth Korea.  GM was the number one automaker in the entire world from 1927 until 2008.  They were number two after Toyota of Japan from 2008 until 2009, and they continue to fall rapidly in global rank.

The Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan is the strongest of the three large American automakers, but nevertheless they continue to lose a massive amount of money, are dependent upon bank loans to survive and have the same problems with ultra-high wages and benefits for their employees in the USA.  Ford only has the active brand names of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury in theUSA.  Volvo of Sweden is up for sale, and will likely be sold in the very near future.

Even many people inDetroitare now facing the eventuality of a future without the Big 3 automakers.  This is their “home town” crowd – those who love them the most.  In addition to the doomed automotive companies, many large American airlines, commercial banks, investment banks, mortgage banks, financial companies, insurance companies, media houses and retailers are headed for financial ruin as well.  Foreign car companies and airlines are still somewhat healthier than those in theUSA, but the condition of foreign banks and insurers remains under threat due to their exposure to the American mortgage loan market.  The global economy is in the process of a massive collapse, which will  make the Great Depression of 1929-1941 look extremely tame by comparison.

The duty that individuals, corporations and governments have is to be foreward-thinking and driven in securing long-term shareowner value – which is exactly what the Volkswagen Group ofGermanydoes so well.  Quality and honesty never let anyone down.

The large European Bank known as “Unicredit” (which is based inMilan,Italy) currently gives the Ford Motor Company a 75% probability of eventual bankruptcy.  The corresponding figure for General Motors is 84%.  Unicredit was founded in 1473, and has more than 10,000 retail branches inItaly,AustriaandGermany.  They have total assets equal to US $1,5 Trillion, 40 million customers and more than 170,000 employees.  Formerly purchased banks of the Unicredit Group include the historical banks of Bayerische Hypotheken-und Wechselbank, Bayerische Vereinsbank, and Vereins-und Westbank inGermany.  I had a Summer internship with this bank inHamburg,Germanyin 1988.

Standard and Poor’s rating company forecast the eventual bankruptcy of General Motors Corporation, the Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation on October 8, 2008.  GM was already 60 days late on its payments, and was thus interested in purchasing Chrysler Corporation, which had more than $11 Billion in cash from its current parent holding company (a private equity firm).  A likely merger will result in many, many more staff cuts especially in theUSA.  The American auto industry and its suppliers have lost an incredible 38 million jobs since 1980 (over the course of 29 years).  A new merger for GM and Chrysler will likely result in the loss of 200,000 more jobs – a painful but unavoidable result.  As of December 2008, American auto companies, banks and insurance companies were all receiving so-called government “bailout” money (”printed or fiat” money with no backing of any real value from the U.S. Treasury) to keep them afloat – something which will not work in the long run, and which will contribute to the bankruptcy of America itself.

On February 9, 2009 it was rumored in Bloomberg News that theU.S.federal government would eventually take both General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy, in a vain effort to “protect” its “investment” of printed “bailout money” – which has since come to pass.  Regardless of what government does or does not do, any firm requesting a so-called “bailout” will likely fail in the long run – with added detriment to the entireU.S.economy caused by public-sector intervention.  The optimal solution would be to have no government interference whatsoever, and to allow the free market to determine winners and losers through its own natural efficiency.

On February 18, 2009 Moody’s rating service forecast a 70 percent probability that both General Motors Corporation and Chrysler Corporation would eventually go bankrupt, and this in spite of tens of billions ofU.S.federal government aid – which has of course come true.  Chrysler went bankrupt on April 30, 2009 and General Motors did likewise on June 1, 2009.  Chrysler officially “exited” bankruptcy when it was “purchased” by Fiat, S.p.a. of Italy in early June 2009 – but it remains to be seen just how well the new “Fiat-Chrysler” concern will perform financially.

In 2009, General Motors Corporation received US $50 billion in “bankruptcy financing” from theU.S.federal government, and Ford Motor received US $5,9 billion in “low interest loans” from the same source.  GM is using US $30 billion of taxpayer money to launch an IPO (initial public offering of shares of stock) of their bankrupt automotive component subsidiaryDelphi.  Secured creditors received a mere 28 cents on the Dollar for General Motors debt, while the labor union (the “UAW,” or “United Auto Workers”) received 50 cents on the Dollar.  This unfair arrangement whereby employees came before creditors will all but eliminate any future free-market financing possibilities for General Motors Corporation.  GM supposedly “exited” from bankruptcy in July 2009, but in reality this is virtually meaningless.  If they are to survive, they must cut theirUSlabor costs and they must sell vehicles with much lower cost margins.

The Future

The future will likely be the brightest for those vehicle groups with the greatest profitability and the most positive growth.  Emerging markets such as MainlandChina,India andRussiaare home to many start-up car and truck companies. Chinais especially promising, now being home to the largest retail vehicle market in the world (having surpassed theUSA, which held this distinction from 1908 until 2008).  Independent Chinese auto manufacturers already make 8 percent of the world’s new cars and trucks.

The Global Economy (update as of February 2011)

The global vehicle industry produces more than 62 million new cars and trucks (excluding fleet sales mostly to rental car companies), 52 million motorcycles and scooters, and 29 million non-motorized vehicles (cycles, carts and wagons) per year.  2,615 million vehicles have been manufactured since the invention of the wheel almost six thousand years ago.  The estimate of 62 million new cars and trucks for 2010 is down from 73 million actual new unit sales in 2007, all due to declining social mood and the ensuing deflationary collapse in credit.

Derzeit werden etwa 62 Millionen Kraftwagen im Jahr weltweit verkauft.  Im Rekordjahr 2007 waren es 73 Millionen Einheiten.  Dadurch ist ersichtlich wie es mit der Weltwirtschaftskrise steht.  In Amerika sind die jährlichen Kraftwagenneulieferungen um 61 Prozent seitdem Rekordjahr 1985 gefallen; in Japan sind sie um 82 Prozent seit dessen Rekordjahr 1989 gesunken.  Die erste Phase des weltweiten wirtschaftlichen Absturzes dauerte von etwa Ende 1999 bis Herbst 2002, und die zweite von Herbst 2007 bis Frühling 2009.  Wir leben mit Kredit-Deflation, nicht Währung-Inflation.  In dieser Zeit sind die Rohstoffspreise um 61 Prozent gefallen, die Ölpreise allein sind um 79 Prozent gesunken.  Es gibt überhaupt keine globale Knappheit der Energiereserven (das heißt Erdöl, Erdgas und Kohle).  Konsumpreise für Energie (Benzin, Diesel, Erdgas und Elektrizität) steigen mit immer steigenden Steuern, besonders die sogenannten Mehrwertssteuern.  Der Markt ist dafür nicht verantwortlich, sondern der Staat und dessen politische Führung.

Contracting motor vehicle sales particularly in regions such as North America (especially in the United States of America) and Japan are a direct result of the collapsing global economy, impending socioeconomic depression and massive deflation of false credit (”counterfeit” money merely “printed” by the so-called “Central Banks” of the world). USauto sales have been down by 61% from their record high in 1985, and inJapanthey have been down by as much as 82% since the Japanese peak of 1989.  J.D. Powers and Associates forecasts that U.S. new vehicle sales in September 2009 will sink back down to the nadir reached in March 2009, with the “Cash for Clunkers” program thus NOT having helped the American automotive market – yet more proof that government intervention hurts the economy.

The worldwide rank of the Volkswagen-Porsche Group ofGermanyis an impressive number 1 in unit sales (VW-Porsche andToyotaare actually quite close right now) and an undisputed number 1 in profit.  Volkswagen corporate stock was among a mere 4 of the 600 largest company stocks in Europe gaining value during the most recent “down” phase of the bear market (from October 2007 until March 2009).

A large majority of the banks (commercial, investment, mortgage and savings) in the world have either gone under or been propped up with “printed” taxpayer money in merely 7 months (from August 2008 to March 2009).  The price of crude oil fell by 79% in just 7 months (from July 2008 to February 2009), along with other commodities (61% down for the entire index).  This is already on par with the “Great Depression” of 1929-1941, and the most brutal phase of the American stock market crash has not yet transpired.  This phase is likely to start no later than the end of Summer 2009.  It will in all probability affect theUnited States, theUnited Kingdom,Israeland most of sub-Saharan Africa (with the possible exception ofSouth Africa) the hardest.

The Down Jones 30 Index has been in a temporary so-called “bear market rally” since early March 2009, which may take it perhaps as high as 10,000 or so by the Summer of 2009.  Thereafter, the most decisive and violent stock market crash in 300 years of world history will commence.  In May 2009, it was determined by U.S. bank regulators that BankAmerica Corporation was lacking US $34 billion in capital.  The comparable figures for Wells Fargo and Company were US $15 billion, US $11,5 billion for GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corporation) and US $5 billion for Citigroup.

Die derzeitige Wirtschaftskrise wird sich bald als die katastrophalste finanzielle Krise der Weltgeschichte entwickeln – schlimmer noch als die Krise zwischen den zwei Weltkriegen.  Der Grund dafür ist die enorme Verschuldung, vor allem in den Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika.  Die USA hat nur vier Prozent der Weltbevölkerung, aber 82 Prozent der Weltverschuldung.  Diese Verschuldung kommt hauptsächtlich von der Bundesregierung in Washington, D.C., aber auch in den 50 US-Bundesstaaten, den Landkreisen, in den Städten, den privaten amerikanschen Geschäftsfirmen sowie der amerikanischen Bevölkerung (durch Immobilien, Autos, Kreditkarten, usw.).  Amerika aber auch Großbrittanien (die Amerikaner haben von den Engländern “gelernt”) stehen vor der Pleite.  Die wirtschaftlichen Großmächte der nahen Zukunft sind Länder wie die Volksrepublik China, Indien und Japan, aber auch Deutschland, Österreich, die Schweiz, Südkorea, Taiwan, Singapur, Rußland, Mexiko, Brasilien und die arabischen Länder im Nahen Osten.  Von etwa 1999 bis 2010 sind die globalen Vermögenspreise um die Hälfte gesunken, und die nächste Phase der Weltwirtschaftskrise hat derzeit begonnen. 

One should expect an eventual collapse of 96 percent of the American and British economic asset base, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally crashing into the abyss below the four hundred-level by perhaps late 2010 or 2011.

TheUnited States of Americaand most other countries entered an historic and long-term bear market in early 2000, a bear market of hard times which will endure for about one hundred years, or until 2100.  The balance of power is now shifting, with the Asia-Pacific region emerging as the new base of global economic, financial and political power. ChinaandIndiawill be ahead of the rest of the world by a large margin, leading a dominant Asian continent.  After them will emerge new economic power blocs in Central Europe (led byGermany) and in Latin America (led byBrazil).

Much of the Asia-Pacific region is heading into an historic bull market, somewhat comparable to what transpired in theUnited Statesin between 1982 and 1999.  The Indian SENSEX market may grow ten-fold in value by 2025.  Other markets with extremely bullish futures includeTaiwan,South KoreaandNew Zealand.  They should have healthy equity markets, with good banking, engineering and manufacturing.

Some Good Internet Links:

1) The site for Volkswagen of America, with links to Volkswagen’s Worldwide Headquarters and International VW websites:

2) The site for Volkswagen de México, S.A. de C.V., home to the Puebla VW Factory:

3) The Volkswagen enthusiast site owned and run by Everett Barnes of Phoenix, Arizona (USA), where one can find galleries, technical information, historical sales literature, VW postcards, VW books, VW magazines and a very extensive “Classifieds” section. This site has been up and running since 1996, since which time it has received an absolutely amazing 4.9 billion page visits over the course of 14 years:  The gallery includes more than 465,000 illustrations, and the classified section includes over 65,000 advertisements (cars, parts, books, brochures, toys and restoration shops).  These 65,000 classified ads represent an annual turnover of 260,000 cars and other items.

4) The site for “The Volkstop,” Tucson, Arizona’s (USA) leading air-cooled repair shop and restoration shop (which restored my 1973 VW Super Beetle Sedan among many other cars). Owned by Chris Jansons: (website temporarily down, but business is thriving!).

5) The site of the “Golden Beetle Car Company of Montana” (USA), which restores Volkswagen Beetles, Super Beetles and Karmann-Ghias.  Prices start at US $14,750 for Beetle Sedans and US $24,750 for Beetle Convertibles:

6) The site of “Memminger Feine Cabrios & Stahlbau, G.m.b.H. of Reichertshofen, Bavaria(Germany), which does extremely high quality (and very high cost) restoration work for Volkswagen Super Beetle Sedans and Convertibles (final price of more than US $65,000 per vehicle):

7) The site of “Omnicar, A.G.” of Munich, Bavaria (Germany), which sells brand new upgraded Volkswagen Beetle Sedans from México:

8) The site for the owners of the special edition “Velvet Red Beetle” (1984) in Germany:

9) A nice site dedicated to enthusiasts of the Volkswagen Type 4 (the 411 and 412 Sedans and Station Wagons):

10) A nice site dedicated to the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle:

11) A nice site on Special Editions of the Volkswagen Beetle, from 1964 to the present model year in 2008:

12) A nice page with historical photos of Volkswagen Beetles, going back to 1933:

13) A nice site dedicated to the Volkswagen Super Beetle:

14) A nice page with historical Volkswagen Bus advertisements:

15) A nice site from Brazil(written in Portuguese) on the history of Volkswagen models from Brazil:

16) A nice German site (written in German, of course) on the history of the Audi-NSU subsidiary of Volkswagen (founded in 1873):

17) The site of Mid-America Motorworks, which specializes in spare parts for Volkswagens and the Chevrolet Corvette:

18) A nice site on the history of Tatra Cars, written by a Czech immigrant to Canada:

19) A nice site on the history of Tatra Trucks, written by the same Czech immigrant to Canada:

20) A nice site called the “Oldtimer Gallery of Tatra Trucks”:

21) The “International Streamlined Tatra Site,” based in the Netherlands:

22) The “Tatra World” site from the Netherlands, which details Tatra history from 1850 until 2000:

23) The official site of the Tatra Registry of the United Kingdom:

24) A Czech site (written in Czech) on the history of Tatra from 1850-2002:

25) The “Tatra from Czechoslovakia” site, which has nice photos of Tatra passenger cars from 1929 to 1997:

26) A nice Danish site on Tatra sales literature:

27) A nice site on the history of Lanchester, the very first boxer-motor car in the world (built in Englandin 1895):

28) A nice site dedicated to automobiles from Russiaand Eastern Europe, including the former East Germany:

29) A nice page written by the German magazine “Stern,” on the history of the Goggomobil Car manufactured by Hans Glas, G.m.b.H.:

30) A nice site dedicated to the vehicles of Hans Glas, G.m.b.H.:

31) The site for global motor vehicle industry production statistics, based in France:

32) Another informative site on global car production up to the year 2000.  It has information on many small auto and truck manufacturing companies in numerous countries around the world:

33) The site for “Auto News,” a major auto industry publication (with sites for the USA, Germany, Europe, Chinaand Asia):

34) The site for the “Detroit News,” which has a good auto section on the USand the global automobile industry:

35) The site for “German Air Cooled” of Southern California, which sells many good die-cast Volkswagen models. These include models made by companies such as Brekina, Wiking, Schuco and Rietze:

36) The site for Paul’s Model Art of Aachen, Germany, which sells many good diecast Volkswagen models under the “Minichamps” brand (and models of many other auto makers):

37) The site for Ewa Cars, a major diecast model retailer from New Jersey. They sell “Minichamps” and many other name brand diecast model cars:

38) The site of Robert Prechter’s “Elliott Wave International,” where one can read some of the highest quality financial forecasting available. Top analysts include Steve Hochberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch:  Elliott Wave International was founded in 1979, and now has more than 131,600 club members, individual subscribers and institutional subscribers.  This is the BEST source for socioeconomic and financial news, because most of what one reads in the “mainstream” global press is simply NOT true.  Most allegedly “professional” news people today are either ignorant or downright dishonest.

Derzeit kann man den Nachrichten (im Fernsehen, im Radio, in Zeitungen und Zeitschriften) oft nicht viel Glauben schenken.  Die Wahrheit ist nicht immer berichtet und ist oft schwer zu finden.  Seit 1979 gibt es eine wirtschaftliche Voraussagenfirma gelegen etwas nördlich von Atlanta, Georgia (USA), namentlich Elliott Wave International (  Die Firma wurde von Robert Prechter, Jr. gegründet, der von Merrill Lynch in Neu York kommt.  Die Qualität seiner sozialen, volkswirtschaftlichen und finanziellen Darlegungen sind unübertroffen.  Die Auswirkungen der globalen Wirtschaftskrise sind überall zu sehen.  Bis März 2008 sind etwa 31 Prozent der weltweiten Bank-Darlehen unbezahlt.  Die Immobilienpreise sind auch gesunken.  Im Juni 2006 kostete das Durchschnittshaus in Amerika US $230,000; im April 2009 waren es US $170,000.  Vielzuviele Häuser wurden gebaut, und viele Leute sind hoch verschuldet.  Weltweit bekommen 77 Prozent aller Banken Hilfe vom Staat (das heißt Steuerzahler) um unmittelbaren Bankrott zu vermeiden.

Statistics on the Emerging Global Socioeconomic Depression

TheU.S.government now “owns” virtually all of the American banking, brokerage, insurance, financial services and automobile industries due to the massive “bailout” of printed fiat currency.  As of March 31, 2008, global banks had already called in or foreclosed on 31% of the outstanding Dollar amount of loans.  The “median average” sale price of a residence in theU.S.A.declined from a record high of $230,000 in June 2006 to $170,000 by April 2009.  The decline from the average high “asking price” of $280,000 has been even more devastating – a loss of close to 40 percent.  The market share of new home sales as a percentage of total home sales in theUSAhit an all time low in May 2009 – roughly 7 percent of the total.  Single family homes in depressed parts ofDetroit,Michiganare now selling for as little as $100 (one hundred American Dollars!) each.  The city ofFlint,Michigan(the home of the General Motors’ Buick Division) is taking the drastic step of planning for a 40% reduction in the existing home inventory inFlint– by way of demolition.  Destruction of existing vacant real property is also taking place inIreland.  As of August 2010, housing sales in theUnited Stateswere at a 47-year low and sales of automobiles were at a 28-year low.

Worldwide, 77% of large banks are already receiving public sector funds.  The strongest large money-center banks are currently those based inFrance.  On February 12, 2009 it was announced that the unit number ofU.S.home mortgage foreclosures will likely increase 6,9-fold over what has already transpired from 2006 to 2009.  The increase will occur between 2009 and 2013.  The annual rate of housing starts in the USA has fallen from a record high of 2,27 million units in January 2006 to a record low of 300,000 units in May 2010 – a decline of 87 percent (and this before the most brutal phase of the stock market crash and after trillions of Dollars worth of federal government “bailouts” and “stimulus”).

During the 4th quarter of 2008, the companies of the S&P 500 Index (basically the 500 largest corporations in theUSA) lost an average of $10.44 per share in earnings.  In other words, most companies inAmericaare losing a huge amount of money from their core business operations, not turning any profit and thus unable to pay much money in taxes.

Elliott Wave International ( posts regular updates of the safest commercial banks and insurance companies in theUSA for its American subscribers.  They list the two safest banks in each of fifty states (100 banks total), and many of these institutions tend to be rather small in size of assets and liabilities (deposits).  Just remember that safety (level of capital reserves) will be far more important than federal government FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) backing once the federal government itself is forced to default upon its financial obligations.  On March 6, 2009 Bloomberg News announced that the FDIC will likely have to “borrow” $500 billion from the Federal Reserve – yet more printed fiat money to cover a frightening one-sixth of all insured U.S. bank deposits.

For those people with the means, small family-owned private banks in locations such asSwitzerland,Liechtenstein,Austria,SingaporeandNew Zealandare the best places to have money.  Other banks to consider include safe and large “money center” banks.  The safest large banks (according to “Global Finance”) are 1) KfW Bankengruppe (of Germany), 2) Groupe Caisse des Dépots et Consignations, or CDC (of France), 3) Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten, or BNG (of the Netherlands), 4) Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank (of Germany), 5) Rabobank Nederland (of the Netherlands), 6) Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg-Förderbank (of Germany), 7) Nordrhein-Westfalenbank (of Germany) and 8) BNP Paribas (of France).  BNP Paribas is the parent company (i.e., owner) of the Bank of the West and of First Hawaiian Bank in theUSA.  The Bank of the West has more than 700 retail bank branches in 19 Western American states.

Die derzeitigen sichersten Großbanken der Welt sind 1) KfW Bankengruppe (aus Deutschland), 2) Groupe Caisse des Depots et Consignations (Frankreich), 3) Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten (die Niederlande), 4) Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank (Deutschland), 5) Rabobank Nederland (Holland), 6) Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg-Förderbank (Südwestdeutschland), Nordrhein-Westfalenbank (Nordwestdeutschland) und BNP Paribas (Frankreich).  Rabobank Nederland und BNP Paribas sind international vertreten, aber die anderen Banken auf dieser Liste sind hauptsächlich national oder örtlich.  Derzeit sind 45 Prozent aller Eigenheimverkäufe in Amerika im Besitz von Banken und anderen Darleheninstituten (wo der ehemalige Hypothekenschuldner sich oft finanziell übernommen hat oder aus anderen Gründen die Hypothek nicht befriedigen kann oder will).  Im Landkreis Riverside, nahe Los Angeles, in Kalifornien sind es derzeit bereits fast 74 Prozent der Eigenheimverkäufe.  Die Gesamtverschuldung des amerikanischen Bundes in Washington, D.C. ist wegen der Wirtschaftskrise um US $12,8 Tausend-Milliarden gestiegen.  Amerkanische Banken, Versicherer und Kraftwagenhersteller haben derzeit bis US $1,4 Tausend-Milliarden verloren.  19,1 Millionen amerikanische Einfamlienhäuser sind derzeit leer, weil die ehemaligen Besitzer Pleite wurden.  Bis zu 10,5 Millionen amerikanische Familien sind derzeit hoch verschuldet weil, unter Anderem, Immobilien und anderes Vermögen an Wert verloren hat.  Die Gesamtverschuldung von nur diesen Familien steht um US $5,92 Tausend-Milliarden.  Nur 18 Prozent aller amerikanischen Familien sind derzeit ohne Verschuldung und finanziell gesund.  Die private Wirtschaft der Vereinigten Staaten wurde zum großen Teil von der Bundesregierung übernommen.

45% of all existingU.S.home sales are now foreclosures (this figure is 55% in the State ofCalifornia, and a record 74% inRiverside County,California).

On September 19, 2008 the U.S. Federal Government (the policy of both majorU.S.political parties, both the old and the incoming Presidential Administrations and the Congress) “monetized”U.S.bad bank debt.  Thus far, they have “guaranteed” US $12,8 Trillion in bad debts (of banks, insurers, auto companies and other American “icons” such as General Electric), with total “recognized” losses now standing at US $1,4 Trillion.  It is noteworthy (and frightening) to consider that American banks started with a mere US $1,4 Trillion in capital before these horrific loan losses.  19,1 million homes in theUSAare now vacant, with an additional 8,3 to 10,5 million American families oweing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.  These 29,6 million residences represent a staggering US $5,92 trillion in bad soon-to-be bad mortgage loans.  They representAmerica’s direct responsibility for the current global socioeconomic deflationary depression.  By 2011, more than half of all American “homeowners” will actually owe more on their mortgages than the said properties are worth – a disaster in the making for the global banking industry, and for political stability (from a forecast by Deutsche Bank, not even allowing for the massive crash which is definitely coming our way).  A mere 18 percent of American families are now on “sound” financial ground with respect to their homes and their debts.

All of theUSeconomy is now part of the public (i.e., government – be it federal, state or municipal) or nonprofit (largely healthcare) sector.  The credit losses of European banks stand at US $1,2 Trillion.  Banks in Francehave faired better than those in theUK,Ireland,Iceland,Germany,Belgium, theNetherlands,Poland,Hungary,Italy,Spain andSwitzerland.  Note: I speak here of “money-center” Swiss banks (private Swiss banks are much healthier).  On January 26, 2009 it was announced that total US bank losses due to bad loans may reach US $4 Trillion – compared to total bank capital of US $1,4 Trillion.  This means that the entire American banking system may soon be declared insolvent, or bankrupt.  British banks have amassed $4.4 Trillion worth of foreign liabilities, with an insignificant $61 billion in foreign reserves backing this liability.  The official government “bailout” using printed fiat money is proportionally just as bad in theUnited Kingdomas it is in theUnited States of America.  Both countries will be crushed by the coming stock market crash and socioeconomic depression.  The Anglo-American geopolitical hegemony over the world which commenced with the defeat of the Spanish Armada (Navy) in the late 16th century will come to an end.

Europäische Banken haben derzeit US $1,2 Milliarden unbezahlte Darlehen, bei amerikanischen Banken sind es US $4,0 Milliarden und bei britischen Banken bis US $4,4 Milliarden.  Alle Firmen, die sogenannte Staatshilfe (Steuerzahlergeld) bekommen haben, sind schon Pleite und werden die derzeitige Phase der Weltwirtschaftskrise nicht überleben.  Seit 2005 hat die globale Wirtschaft US $250 Tausend-Milliarden Vermögenswert verloren – die Hälfte des weltweiten Gesamtvermögens.  Die derzeitigen Börsenmärkte sind verhältnismäßig so schwach wie im Jahre 1931.  Die Zinsen in Großbrittanien sind derzeit so niedrig wie im Jahre 1694, als die englische Zentralbank gegründet wurde.

After all is said and done, do not expect any entity receiving a so-called government “bailout” to survive.  In other words, expect all 3 American automakers (GM, Ford and Chrysler) plus the top 20 American banks, AIG, General Electric, most state and local governments and ultimately the US Federal Government to fail and thereby cease to exist.  There is no such thing as a “free lunch.”

Governments in Western and Central Europe have done likewise to a lesser extent, which makes the global “bailout” with worthless printed money stand at a staggering US $18,1 trillion and counting ($12,8 trillion from theUnited Statesand $5,3 trillion fromEurope).  The average investor equity loss in the American stock market since October 2007 has been as high as 72 percent.  The global economy has lost US $250 Trillion in asset value since the asset price peaks of 2005-2007 (in stocks, bonds, real estate, derivatives and unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities).  This equals US $36,900 for every single man, woman and child alive on the planet today. Japan’s Nikkei Dow started its decline back in 1989, so one can imagine that cumulative losses since then are much, much higher.  2008 is the worst year on record ever for the Standard & Poors 500 Index, and the worst year for the Dow Jones 30 Industrial Average since 1931.  The Bank of England (the world’s first modern “central bank,” having been founded in 1694), has already lowered its key interest rate to the lowest level in 315 years – illustrating the severe weakness of the global economy and the magnitude of the approaching crash.  Nobody alive today will have remembered anything so severe.

9,800UShome mortgages are now foreclosed every single day (compared to 1,000 per day at the nadir of the Great Depression in 1933).  In April 2010 theUnited Statesregistered a record 92,432 home repossessions, 333,837 mortgage foreclosures and 103,762 mortgage loan defaults – a grand total of 530,031 in just one month.  This monthly rate would equal 6.3 million home residences in just one year.

In 2008 und 2009 haben 360,000 amerikanische Kaufläden Pleite gemacht.  Die offizielle Arbeitslosenquote in Amerika liegt bei zehn Prozent, aber die amerikanische Bundesregierung in Washington, D.C. sagt, daß es in der Tat nahe 17 Prozent liegt.  Die Arbeitslosenzahl in Amerika ist derzeit eine ernste 26 Prozent, und dazu haben acht Prozent der Arbeitnehmer nur Teilzeitarbeit.  Derzeit haben 65 Prozent der amerikansichen Arbeitnehmer entweder keine Arbeit, Teilzeitarbeit oder arbeiten unter Lohnsenkungen.  Das globale Transportgeschäft über Land und Meer ist bis zu 92 Prozent gesunken, und die Transportpreise haben darunter schwer gelitten.  Staatsverschuldung und Privatverschuldung in Amerika liegt derzeit bei US $52 Tausend-Milliarden.  Dazu hat die US-Bundesregierung in Washington, D.C. unbezahlte Verbindlichkeiten von US $54 Tausend-Milliarden – für Sozialversicherung, Gesundheitswesenversicherung, Soldatenversicherung und Rentenversicherung.  Die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika haben nur vier Prozent der Weltbevölkerung aber 82 Prozent der Weltverschuldung.

In an even more ominous sign, shipping orders have been down by as much as 92% in just a matter of months – utterly serious, because 95% of the world’s physical goods are moved by water.  Shipping rates are also down drastically, which will force many shipping companies into financial bankruptcty.  The “Baltic Dry Index,” which tracks ocean-going freight rates for dry commodities, collapsed by 96% during 2008 and into early April 2009.  It gained 68% into May 2009 – largely due to increased imports of iron ore (up by 33%) and crude oil (up by 13,6%) into MainlandChina.  The recovery is transpiring in Asia, but not inAmerica.

Total outstanding debt in theUSA(both public and private sectors) is now US $52 Trillion, while unfunded liabilities (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, military and civilian retirement) are an additional US $54 Trillion.  All told, an amazing 82% of the world’s total debt is owed by Americans – a very negative but true commentary on theUSA.  Consider that a mere 4% of the world’s total population is in theUSA.  It is difficult to see howAmericawill maintain its fiscal and political sovereignty after foreign lenders finally stop lending money to Americans.  AllUSgovernment spending will grind to a halt.  With declining fortunes worldwide, cash-rich countries will cease lending money to indebted societies such as theUSA– turningAmericainto a Third World Nation overnight. Americahas a current account deficit of US $1 Trillion, and now requires $10 billion of new foreign capital every single day just to stay afloat – a situation which cannot continue much longer.  The so-called “Euro zone” of the European Union (E.U.) has at least $11 Trillion in debt.

This will make the USA no different from unfortunate countries of rather recent history (such as Ireland during the “Potato Famine” or communist East Germany after World War 2), with the US Dollar eventually becoming worthless, and talented Americans seeking to emigrate to other countries with greener pastures – such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.  Nevertheless, one must be “flexible” where emigration is concerned – due to the fact that most English-speaking Americans will desire to move to countries such asCanada,AustraliaandNew Zealand.  I know of contemporary cases where English-speaking Americans have already emigrated toMexico,Guatemala,Belize,Ecuador,Argentina,Australia, thePhilippines,Spain,ItalyandGermany.

MainlandChinaand 16 other countries (includingIndia,Russia,Brazil,Indonesia,Malaysia,Thailand,Argentina,Belarus,South Korea,Vietnam,Singapore, thePhilippines,Brunei,Myanmar-Burma,CambodiaandLaos) are already in the process of replacing the US Dollar with the Chinese Yuan for purposes of foreign trade and currency reserves.  These 17 nations have 52 percent of the world’s population.  In June 2009, the 27-nation European Union (EU) held elections which gave right-of-center, conservative and Christian Democratic political parties 66,5% of the seats in the Strassburg parliament.  This should lead to more free-market policies and movement away from the U.S. Dollar.  Much of the Islamic world will likely move from the U.S. Dollar to the Dinar, which is currently used by Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Macedonia, Serbia and Tunisia.  Right-of-center and fiscally conservative governments now represent countries with at least 88 percent of the world’s population.  These governments (unlike that of theUSA) tend to be rather pro-business and pro-growth, giving their populations more opportunity for individual advancement and personal responsibility.

Die nächste und dann auch erste Großmacht der nahen Zukunft ist die Volksrepublik China, ein Land mit mehr als 1,34 Milliarden Einwohner.  Weltweit verarbeitet die chinesische Wirtschaft derzeit 50 Prozent vom Eisenerz, 41,3 Prozent aller Steinkohle, 34 Prozent vom Stahl und 33 Prozent vom Aluminium der Welt.  Die zweite Großmacht der nahen Zukunft ist Indien, ein Land mit etwa 1,16 Milliarden Leute.  Nachdem Amerika und Großbrittannien ihren Weltwirtschaftsrank verlieren, werden China und Indien fast 60 Prozent der Weltwirtschaft beherrschen.  Die Mittelschichten in China und Indien umfaßt bereits 200 Millionen Menschen.  Dieser neue Wohlstand wird den Verkauf von Eigenheimen, Haushaltsgütern, Kraftwagen und anderen Konsumgütern nach sich ziehen. Die nahe und sich ändernde Zukunft ist auf dem Börsenmarkt sichtbar, besonders in Neu York.  Im Oktober 2007 stand der Dow Jones 30 Industrial Average bei 14,279 Punkten, im März 2009 waren es nur 6,469.  Seit März 2009 erleben wir einen schwachen Aufschwung der Kredit-Inflation.  Die derzeitige Phase der Kredit-Deflation (das Gegenteil von Kredit-Inflation) wird den Dow Jones 30 Industrial Average unter 1,000 Punkte treiben.  Die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika und das Vereinigte Königreich von Großbrittannien und Nordirland werden wirtschaftlich wesentlich zurückfallen, und ein neues Zeitalter wird beginnen – das Zeitalter von China und Indien in Großasien, und ein neues Zeitalter von Deutschland und Mitteleuropa im Abendland.

The robust Chinese economy already uses 50% of the world’s iron ore and cement, illustrating just how much economic activity is taking place in MainlandChina. Chinaalso consumes 41,3% of the world’s coal, 34% of its steel and 33% of its aluminum.  MainlandChinaandIndiacombined will eventually represent close to 60% of all worldwide economic activity.  Their robust middle class (already more than 200 million strong) will purchase brand new homes and automobiles.  Their strong demand for energy (crude oil, natural gas, coal and uranium) will lead to an historic bull market in energy prices – driving crude oil as high as $300 to $500 per barrel by the year 2012 (a mere three years down the road).  Their national treasuries and currencies will be backed by precious metal deposits in gold, silver and platinum.  They will be the new “first world,” whereas theUnited Statesand theUnited Kingdomwill regress to the status of “third world” countries.  75 percent of current worldwide economic growth now occurs in Asia,RussiaandBrazil.  The remaining 25 percent of growth is confined to the lesser-performing regions of North America, Spanish America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa,AustraliaandOceania.

The Crash May Have Commenced:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached as high as the 11,260 level in late April 2010 and sunk as low as 9,610 in early July 2010.  It’s up and down movement is much like a spring winding up for a powerful thrust downward, characterized by waning upside momentum.  The Dow’s nominal high in October 2007 was above 14,270.

We are now heading into what will be the most devastating economic crash in at least three hundred years of world history which may take the Dow Jones 30 Industrial Average below 400 according to a recent forecast by Elliott Wave International.  Here are other facts to consider: the first phase of the current crash (2000 to 2002) caused the Dow to lose a cumulative 37% of its value.  The second phase of the crash (October 2007 to March 2009) made the Dow lose a cumulative 55% of its value.  This coming phase of the crash which is likely just around the corner will make the Dow lose more than 95% of its value.

When the value of U.S. Dollar denominated assets collapses, the Dollar itself will rise in value substantially.  It will do so because most global debt is denominated in U.S. Dollars, and because it is the sickest currency on earth.  After the collapse is complete, the world will finally succeed in moving away from the U.S. Dollar.  It is only at that time that the value of the U.S. Dollar itself will collapse, and when investors will finally flee to currencies such as the Swiss Franc and gold.  TheUnited Statescould then become the very first de-industrialized country on earth – a formerly first world country and a newly third world country.  This will be comparable to the fall of theWestern Roman Empirein the modern day world – something the likes of which has not happened in more than 1,500 years.

Internet Links (continued):

39) The global website of Porsche, A.G. of Germany (the parent of Volkswagen, A.G.):

40) The global website of Daimler, A.G. of Germany (the home of Mercedes-Benz motor cars):

41) The website for the Studebaker National Museum of South Bend, Indiana (USA):

42) A nice site with good photographs of Packard cars, as well as further pages on the likes of historic aircraft, old Dutch cars, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the Model T Ford, the Model A Ford, the Chevrolet Corvette, Oshkosh Trucks, Divco Trucks, the Ford Mustang, Duesenberg, Cord, Chrysler, Studebaker, Jeep, Nash, Hudson, American Motors Corporation (AMC), Essex, Terraplane, Volkswagen, Kaiser, Frazer, Henry J, Stanley Steamer, Crosley, the Chevrolet Corvair, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Buick, Tucker, Amphicar and Covered Bridges in Nova Scotia, Canada:

43) The site of McLellan’s Automotive Literature, which sells collectible automotive literature for very many brand names from around the entire world:

Literary Sources:

1.)  Volkswagen Beetles, Buses and Beyond (by James M. Flammang)

2.)  Volkswagens of the World (by Simon Glen)

3.)  Millennium Bug, a VW Beetle Scrapbook (by Keith Seume)

4.)  VW Bus – Camper, Bus, Van, Pickup and Wagon (by Malcolm Bobbitt)

5.)  The VW Beetle including Karmann-Ghia (by Jonathan Wood)

6.)  Illustrated Volkswagen Buyer’s Guide (by Peter Vack)

7.)  Vintage Volkswagens (Photography by Flat 4 Project)

8.)  Die VW Story (by Jerry Sloniger)

9.)  Das große Buch der Volkswagen Typen (by Lothar Boschen)

10.)  Clymer VW Beetle 1961 – 1979 Shop Manual (by Eric Jorgensen)

11.)  Volkswagen Nine Lives Later (by Dan R. Post)

12.)  The Beetle – The Chronicle of the People’s Car Volume II (by Hans-Rüdiger Etzold)

13.)  Der Käfer - Eine Dokumentation, Bände I bis III (by Hans-Rüdiger Etzold)

14.)  How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (by John Muir)

15.)  Volkswagen Model Documentation (by Joachim Kuch)

16.)  The End ofDetroit– How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market (by Micheline Maynard)

17.)  Studebaker Cars (by James H. Moloney)

18.)  American Motors – The Last Independent (by Patrick R. Foster)

19.)  Cars Cars Cars Cars (by Sammy C.H. Davis)

20.)  Der Käfer im Bild – The Beetle in Pictures (by Nikolaus Reichert and Hans Joachim Klersy)

21.)  Volkswagen Beetle – The Rise from the Ashes of War (by Simon Parkinson)

22.)  VW Beetle – The Complete Story (by Robert Davies)

23.)  Volksy – The Little Yellow Car (by Helen Wing)

24.)  The Love Bug (Adapted by Mel Cebulash from the Walt Disney Motion Picture)

25.)  Military Transport – Trucks and Transporters (by T.J. O’Malley)

26.)  Illustrated Packard Buyer’s Guide (by Richard M. Langworth)

27.)  Illustrated Studebaker Buyer’s Guide (by Richard M. Langworth)

28.)  Volkswagen Beetle – Type 1, the traditional Beetle (by William Boddy)

29.)  The Origin and Evolution of the VW Beetle (by Terry Schuler withGriffithBorgeson and Jerry Sloniger)

30.)  Buick 1946 – 1978: The Classic Postwar Years (by Jan P. Norbye and Jim Dunne)

31.)  Studebaker 1946 – 1966: The Classic Postwar Years (by Richard M. Langworth)

32.)  Illustrated Motor Cars of the World from 1770 to 1967 (by Jack Brabham)

33.)  Auburn Cord Duesenberg (by Don Butler)

34.)  GM – The First 75 Years of Transportation Products (by the Editors of Automobile Quarterly Magazine)

35.)  Willys-Overland Sales Literature (1953)

36.)  “Goggomobil” Model History by “Stern” Magazine (1951-1968)

37.)  Porsche Sales Literature (1954 – 2001)

38.)  Alfa-Romeo Sales Literature (1988 – 1994)

39.)  Mercedes-Benz Sales Literature (1968 – 1977)

40.)  Divco Truck Sales Literature (1939)

41.)  Hupmobile Sales Literature (1941)

42.)  Graham Sales Literature (1941)

43.)  Diamond T Truck Sales Literature (1949)

44.)  Cord Sales Literature (1981)

45.)  Auburn Sales Literature (1982)

46.)  Checker Sales Literature (1982)

47.)  Duesenberg Sales Literature (1985)

48.)  Stutz Sales Literature (1988)

49.)  Conestoga, Studebaker and Avanti Sales Literature (1750 – 2001)

50.)  Packard Sales Literature (1946 – 1958)

51.)  American Motors Corporation (AMC) Sales Literature (1970 – 1983)

52.)  History of Nesselsdorf and Tatra (1399 – 1896)

53.)  Tatra Sales Literature (1890 – 1997)

54.)  Zündapp Sales Literature (1932)

55.)  NSU Sales Literature (1933 – 1934)

56.)  KdF and Volkswagen Sales Literature (1935 – 2006)

57.)  The Beetle – Celebration of the World’s Favorite Car (by Keith Seume)

58.)  Small Wonder – The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen (by Walter Henry Nelson)

59.)  Getting the Bugs Out – The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Volkswagen inAmerica(by David Kiley)

60.)  Think Small – the Story of those Volkswagen Ads (by Frank Rowsome, Jr.)

61.) Battlefor the Beetle – the untold Story of the Post-War Battle for Adolf Hitler’s giant Volkswagen Factory and the Porsche-designed Car that became an Icon for Generations around the Globe (by Karl Ludvigsen, with a Forward by Major Ivan Hirst).

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