VolkswagenIn 1934, Ferdinand Porsche received an order from Hitler to design and build an economical vehicle that the average German could afford to purchase and operate; a "Volkswagen" (peoples' wagon in German). Five prototypes were built in 1935-1936 and 126 cars were produced 1936-1939.
Volkswagenwerke GmbH was founded in 1938 and a new factory was built. In February 1940 the plant was finished and production began, but not on the VW 1KdF-Wagen (the original name of what became known as the VW Beetle). Instead the off-road VW Typ 2 Kuebelwagon designed for the German Army was built. In the years 1940 to 1944, only 630 original-design Volkswagens were produced.
Production of the Volkswagen Beetle began in August, 1945 and continued in Germany until 1980. The first two VW Beetles were imported into the United States in 1949. Ultimately, over 20 million Volkswagen Beetles were produced worldwide, more than any other car model ever made.
In the last 40 years Volkswagen has acquired other car makers including:
- Auto Union (Audi) - 1964 50%, 1966 100%
- NSU - 1969
- Seat - 1986 75%, 1990 100%
- Skoda - 1991 31%, 1994, 60.3%, 1995 70%, 2000 100%
- Bentley - 1998
- Lamborghini - 1998 (Became part of the Audi brand)
- Bugatti (Brand) - 1998
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