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    (May 28, 1937- )
    Headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany
    Popular models include the Beetle, VW Bus, Passat and Golf
    Purchased Audi (1964), Lamborghini (1998), Bentley (1998), Bugatti (1998), Skoda (2000) and Porsche (2012)
    Produced 10.14 million vehicles (2014)
    2nd largest auto manufacturer in the world
    Adolf Hitler was an early booster of the idea of a ‘people’s car’ for Germans.
    It was originally owned by the Nazi-controlled German Labor Front.
    During WWII, it modified the basic VW Beetle design to produce the Kubelwagen and amphibious Schwimmwagen for the German military.
    Its plant also produced V-1 flying bombs using slave labor.
    It was offered for sale to the Ford Motor Company after the war, but Ford executive vice president Ernest Breech said the car and plant weren’t ‘worth a damn.’
    Although its most famous model is almost universally known as the Beetle, its official name was Type 1.
    Despite continuing success in Europe, its sales in the US dropped off dramatically during the 1980s.
    It admitted that 11 million of its cars carried software that turned certain emission controls on only when the car was undergoing an emissions test (2015).
    Fahrvernugen! (Gesundheit!)
    The Beetle was designed by famed race car designer Ferdinand Porsche.
    The Beetle prototypes were put through a million miles of road testing to refine their design.
    The company became an icon of West Germany’s post-war economic recovery.
    Its ‘Think Small’ ad campaign was one of the most influential in marketing history.
    The Beetle passed the Ford Model T to become the best-selling car in history (1972).
    The VW Golf popularized the hatchback style of car.
    It set up a restitution fund for victims of WWII slave labor and their relatives (1998).
    Three of its models – the Beetle, the Golf and the Passat – are among the 10 best selling cars of all time.

Credit: C. Fishel

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