In German, Volk means people, and Wagen refers to cars. So, Volkswagen is basically the “people’s car.” Launched back in 1937, Volkswagen has grown to become a leading auto manufacturer. Their vehicles are luxurious, reliable, and offer incredible performance. Over time, Volkswagen has also ventured into electric cars, which seem to be the trend of the 21st century. Here are some fast facts about this German manufacturer.

1. Volkswagen Sells More Sausages Than Cars

Even though Volkswagen is a well-known auto manufacturer, they also produce sausages. Interestingly, the company sells more sausages than cars. Volkswagen makes and sells at least 18,000 sausages daily, which is way more than the cars they manufacture, let alone sell.

2. Volkswagen Owns Lamborghini, Porsche, Bugatti and Bentley

Over time, Volkswagen has acquired various luxury car companies, including Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche, Lamborghini, and Audi. The company also owns the motorcycle company Ducati. Volkswagen can be found in over 100 countries thanks to its many subsidiaries and superb marketing strategies.

3. Volkswagen Used Enslaved People in Its Factories

During the Nazi era, Volkswagen used to source workforce from enslaved people detained in the Nazi concentration camps. There is documentation of the slave workers at the Volkswagen Factory in the museum of Stadtschloss in Wolfsburg. The captured offered their services for free.

4. Volkswagen Became the Most Valuable Company in the World for 1 Day

black Volkswagen sedan on the street

During the 2008 financial crisis, Volkswagen became the most valuable company in the world for one day. A single share of the company rose to over €1,000. Financial experts attributed this to short sellers trying to cover their options following the crisis.

5. Adolf Hitler Founded Volkswagen

In 1937, Adolf Hitler formed a state company to make cars for the German people. The goal was to ensure every family in Germany owned a vehicle, hence the name “Volkswagen” or “People’s Car.” Hitler requested Ferdinand Porsche to design the car. Therefore, there is a very strong connection between the Nazis, Hitler and Volkswagen.

6. The City of Wolfsburg Was Built to House Volkswagen Workers

Wolfsburg, founded in 1938, was built to house Volkswagen workers. To date, one of the largest Volkswagen companies is found in Wolfsburg.

7. The Volkswagen Golf was Introduced to Replace the Beetle

yellow Volkswagen coupe

The VW Beetle has been around for decades. However, as we approached the 21st century, its popularity declined significantly, forcing Volkswagen to introduce the Golf as a replacement. Turns out the move was financially wise, given VW Golf’s success in the market.

8. Volkswagen Once Built Cars with Dash-Mounted Coffee Makers

Volkswagen is well known for adding valuable features to its cars. However, in 1959, they went above and beyond to include dash-mounted coffee makers in the Beetles. The company used the Hertella Auto Kaffee Machine with porcelain cups.

9. Volkswagen Won a Nobel Prize for Reducing Car Emissions

In 2016, Volkswagen was awarded a Nobel Prize for making cars that produce fewer emissions during tests. However, the credibility of the Nobel Prize was tainted after it was linked to the Diselgate Scandal, where Volkswagen used software to cheat on federal emissions tests. The software used to record the false emission results was known as Defeat Devices.

10. Fluffy Has More than 15 Volkswagen Buses

white and orange van on gray asphalt road during daytime

Gabriel Iglesias, aka Fluffy, has an incredible passion for VW buses – he owns 18 Volkswagen Buses. He bought his first VW bus when he was only 17 years old for $700. His entire collection, including a 1950 Volkswagen Beetle, is valued at about $3 million.

11. Jim Carrey Once Lived in a Volkswagen Bus

According to reports, when Jim Carrey, a renowned Canadian-American comedian, dropped out of high school, he lived on a VW bus with his family. They would park in various destinations in Canada, depending on the circumstances. After some time, they moved into a tent on his sister’s lawn.

12. Volkswagen Names Most of Its Cars After Winds

Volkswagen tends to name most of its cars after winds. For instance, the Polo is named after Polar winds, Passat after trade winds, and Jetta after the jet stream. According to the company’s executives, wind suggests smoothness, speed, and silence, hence the association.

13. Toyota is More Popular than Volkswagen

Despite Volkswagen’s numerous attempts at trying to be the best seller in the world, they always come second after Toyota. For the past three years, Toyota has sold more vehicles than Volkswagen. Even with its many subsidiaries, VW has had to contend with being second-best in terms of overall sales.

14. China is Volkswagen’s Biggest Market

Out of all places in the world, China is Volkswagen’s biggest market – Volkswagen sells more than three million cars in a year there. As a result, the company runs a handful of brands in China, including Audi, Skoda, and Porsche. Volkswagen infiltrated the Chinese market in 1984 and has witnessed tremendous success since.

15. Volkswagen Only Sold 2 Cars in the US in 1949

In the first year that Volkswagen ventured into the US market, they sold only two cars. However, the popularity of the Beetle grew much quicker. By 1955, the company had made enough sales to establish the Volkswagen of America. Its vehicles were sold and serviced here.

16. Ford was Offered Volkswagen for Free But Declined The Offer

In 1948, the British offered the Volkswagen auto company to Ford for free, but Henry Ford II declined this offer. His representative, Ernest Beech, told Henry the offer wasn’t worth it. So, Volkswagen was left under the leadership of Nordhoff, who grew it to become one of the top ten auto brands in the market.

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Last Update: May 1, 2024