(from German: people’s car), often abbreviated VW, is a German car brand that is part of the Volkswagen Group.
Volkswagen is part of the group Volkswagen AG, which is one of the world’s largest automakers, which in turn is owned by Porsche Holding. The Volkswagen group has over 336 000 employees who are involved in producing 21,500 vehicles a day (2003). The company VW (Volkswagen AG) is located at the Mittelland Canal with its headquarter in Wolfsburg, Germany, where there is also the very first Volkswagen plant.
The history of Volkswagen dates back to 1932, when Ferdinand Porsche built his first prototype for the Zündapp company, a car with an air-cooled five-cylinder radial engine mounted in the rear of the car. On January 17, 1934, Porsche submitted a propose for a people’s car – Volkswagen – to the German national government. In early 1934, Porsche presented his idea of an air-cooled rear-mounted engine for the NSU Company.
The vision was that people car can accommodate four people, have a top speed of around 100 km/h, can climb gradients of 30 percent, have the best possible suspension and handling and also is cheap to buy and to maintain. On February 24 1936, the first prototypes were completed, designed and built in Ferdinand Porsche’s private garage.
“Require further development,” was said in the test report. At the beginning of 1938, the car received its final form in the pre-series – VW 38 – which then has been presented to the public. On 26 May 1938, the foundation stone for Volkswagenwerk was put eight mil east of Hanover. Porsche was inspired by Hans Ledwinkas Tatra cars and Volkswagen was later sued by Tatra.
In Fallersleben, Adolf Hitler declared the desire to build the world’s most modern car plant.
German trade spies had previously worked at Ford and General Motors and learned modern methods of mass production. Germany had the strategy to beat the United States in the price of the production, which would be 920 Reichsmarks for a car. Hitler wanted build a better, more modern and lighter car than ever before. At Berlin exhibition in 1938, a new Volks-Wagen or KdF-Wagen, designed by Professor Ferdinand Porsche and having a streamlined bodywork, separate suspension around the torsion bars, and air-cooled engine located at the rear, was a sensation. Now every decent German had an opportunity to have his own car.
The first production vehicle of the new type V1 appeared October 12, 1936 and it was called Volksauto, which later became the Volkswagen Type 1.
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