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Volkswagen AG Group vehicles


Volkswagen was founded on 28 May 1937 as the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH (limited liability Society for the preparation of the German Volkswagens) by the Nazi Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labour Front). The purpose of the company was to manufacture the Volkswagen Type 1, later better known as the Volkswagen Beetle. On 16 September 1938, the company was renamed Volkswagenwerk Gesellschaft mit beschršnkter Haftung (Volkwagen Factory, limited liability company).


After the Second World War in June 1945, Major Ivan Hirst of the British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) took control of the bomb-shattered factory, and tried to dismantle it and ship it home. However, no British car manufacturer was interested; "the vehicle does not meet the fundamental technical requirement of a motor-car ... it is quite unattractive to the average buyer ... To build the car commercially would be a completely uneconomic enterprise". As part of the Industrial plans for Germany, large parts of German industry, including Volkswagen, were to be dismantled. Total German car production was set at a maximum of 10% of the 1936 car production numbers. The company survived by producing cars for the British Army, and in 1948, the British Government handed the company back over to the German state, where it was managed by former-Opel chief Heinrich Nordhoff.

Volkswagen's Golf is the third best-selling car in the world, selling over 26 million through 2008


In 1960, upon the floatation of part of the German federal government's stake in the company on the German stock market, its name became Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft, abbreviated AG.

On 1 January 1965, Volkswagenwerk acquired Auto Union GmbH from its parent company Daimler-Benz. The new subsidiary went on to produce the first post-war Audi models, the Audi F103 series, shortly afterwards.

Another German manufacturer, NSU Motorenwerke AG, was merged into Auto Union on 26 August 1969, creating 'Audi NSU Auto Union AG' (later renamed AUDI AG in 1985).


From the late 1970s to 1992, the acronym V.A.G was used by Volkswagen AG for group-wide activities, such as distribution and leasing. Whilst there was no official meaning given for the V.A.G acronym, it was ascribed different meanings in different locations - in Germany Volkswagen Audi Gesellschaft was assumed, whilst in the United Kingdom, Volkswagen Audi Group was used on official communications.


On 4 July 1985, the company name was changed again - to Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, to reflect the company's increasing global diversification from its headquarters and main plant, the Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg. In 1986, Volkswagen acquired a controlling stake in the Spanish car manufacturer SEAT, S.A. and in 1991, äkoda automobilovŠ a.s. of Czechoslovakia became a wholly-owned subsidiary.


Three prestige automotive marques were added to the Volkswagen portfolio in 1998: Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti.

Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, (FWB: VOW3) sometimes referred to as VW AG, VWAG, or VAG develops vehicles and components for all marques of the whole Group, and also manufactures complete vehicles for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles marques.

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