Volkswagen was founded in May 28 1937. Their headquarters is in Wolfsburg Germany. On their long history they had become the second largest car group in the world behind Toyota Group and ahead of General Motors of the United States but they still have the largest market in Europe and their car is one of the best seller in Europe. Today we will look in Volkswagen group car in Malaysia and on the history on how Volkswagens had acquired them to become the second largest car group in the world.
Volkswagen means “People Cars” in English and they are a reason on why they are called this way. It was created at the time when many Germans were unable to afford a car as in that time only luxuries model was sold and it was unable to be bought by the normal German people. In this time also the German only can afford motorcycle as to buy the luxury model is beyond their capabilities unless if they have a big pocket.
The idea of the people car was created by the German Labour Front with the help of Adolph Hitler whom want the Germans to emulate the Americans that have an access to the car. They had started the production with the help of Ferdinand Porsche the founder of the high performance Porsche Car. The first affordable car that was built was the now legendary and iconic Volkswagen Bettle . It is something of revolutionary at that time. From Bettle , Volkswagen had gain from strength to strength to the position they are today.
Ferdinand Porsche that become had become part of the team that created the Bettle had a turmoil life after the World War 2 ended. First the Volkswagen that he is part of was taken over by British and he was arrested for war crimes but not tried. Under the absence of this father, his son Terry Porsche had tried to build his own car but unable to sold any of them and without his father his leadership, had steered the company to a disaster. The company had been reshuffle back after his father release in 1947.
From then on both Volkswagen and Porsche had gain a good relationship and in August 2009 both Porsche and Volkswagen had reached an agreement that the 2 of them will merge to form the Integrated Automotive Group where Volkswagen had agreed to take 50.76% share owned by Porsche and Volkswagen also had taken the Porsche management position in order for Volkswagen to gain full control and the results acquire the full ownership of Porsche. Both company that had become the founder of the “People Car” had merged into one group.
Under the Volkswagen they are still another luxury automobiles maker called as Audi. It was founded by an engineer August Horch and this had led to the formation of Auto Union in 1932. The Auto Union had also take part in building the People Cars. The name Audi came from the latin translation of the founder Horch where in German it means listen and in latin it means Audi. The name had become well known in the automobile industries. The four rings logo in the Audi representing the four companies that found the Auto Union Horch, Audiwerke, DKW and Wanderers. Volkswagen had acquired Audi in 1969 and at that time they only holding 50% of the share that includes the Audi factory in Ingolstadt, Germany, the DKW and Audi Brands along for the right of the new design that was previously under Daimler – Benz and 8 months later Volkswagen had acquired the full control of Audi.
Due to merger with Audi, Volkswagen had used their technologies to build the now famous Polo, Golf and Passat. The old Audi model become the foundation for these Volkswagen car. Even today it can be seen that Volkswagen and Audi shared some similarities in term of the body design but not in term of luxury in the cabin as Audi is far better. In earlies stages Audi is the only company in the Volkswagen subsidiaries.
Thing will change rapidly in leadership of Ferdinand Karl Piëch whom had acquired several foreign car company that makes Volkswagen the second largest car group today. First he had acquired the French Car high performance automobiles maker founded by Ettore Buggati, Buggati Automobiles. Buggati had been defunct in 1963 after the death of founder’s son Jean Buggati in 1939 and when Ettore Buggati passed away in 1947 the company had collapsed as they no successor to lead the Buggati plant. It was revitalized by an Italian entrepreneur Romano Albertolli until in 1998 Volkswagen had purchased the right to produce the car under the Buggati marque and in 22 December 2000 Volkswagen had officially incorporated Buggati in his group successfully with the former Volkswagen Drivetrain Chief Karl Heinz Neumann as the CEO.
Ferdinand Karl Piëch does not stop as he continued his buying sprees as he had purchased the Lamborghini. An Italian high performance car maker with head quarter in Bolognese, it was found by Ferruccior Lamborghini to compete with Ferrari. With the rear wheel drive and rear middle engine on the first Miuro Sport Coupe they had established as a tough competitor to Ferrari and the design of Miura had become the standard layout for the high performance car until today. Everything is gun and roses for Lamborghini until the sales plunged due to worldwide financial downturn and oil crisis in 1973. The company had become bankrupt in 1974. Before Volkswagen acquired it was first purchased by Chrysler Corporation in 1987 whom unable to make any profit from it and later sold it to Malaysian investment group called MyCom Setdco and Indonesia group VPower Corporation in 1994. Later under the leadership of Ferdinand Volkswagen had acquired Lamborghini under the Audi subsidiary with the price US 110 million.
Where both Buggati and Lamborghini purchase was pretty straightforward, the purchase of Bentley was a bit complicated for Ferdinand. Bentley is British luxury motorcars maker that is mostly handmade. The headquarters is in Crewe, England and it was founded by H.M Bentley in 18 January 1919. Later it was acquired by Rolls Royce in 1931 and in the later years was acquired by now defunct Vicker PLC in 1988. In early 90’s , Vicker had decided to sold Rolls Royce motors and BMW look like the clear favourites to acquires them with 340million Euro but was outbid by Volkswagen with 430million Euro.
In the beginning Volkswagen have the right for the design, model nameplate, production and administration facilities, the spirit of Ecstasy and Rolls Royce grill shape trademark but not the Rolls Royce name and logo as BMW paid Rolls Royce 40 million Euro for it. Later after successful negotiation with BMW, BMW had come to an agreement with Volkswagen that they will supply the engines and components and will let Volkswagen temporarily use of Rolls Royce name and logo from 1998 to 2002. From 1 January 2003 onwards Volkswagen become the sole provider of Bentley marques and BMW had created a new legal entities called as Rolls Royce Motors.
The good thing about the Volkswagen acquires of the Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Bentley it had revitalized the car brand again. Before the ownership of Volkswagen, Lamborghini didn’t have any profit after they had become bankrupt in 1974, they had saw an enormous profit with the launch of Lamborghini Aventador and Buggati had become a worldwide phenomenon with launch of the Buggati Veyron 16.4 and Bentley had been transformed to an ultra-luxury car maker that rivalled Rolls Royce. So the ownership did a great thing for all this foreign car brand.
Volkswagen had tried to acquire Proton in the late 90’s but unfortunately was denied. Maybe with the Volkswagen ownership Proton can become a better can than today as they did with Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley.