A vehicle that was as inexpensive as it was modern for the masses : that was the basic idea that led to the construction of the Volkswagen plant. Thanks to the systematic expansion of the model range on the one hand and exceptional production quality on the other, sales figures grew rapidly. Today Volkswagen is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, has numerous production facilities around the globe and has become the parent company of twelve brands.
Who are the most important people ?
In response to tenders from the government to democratize the cars in Germany, Ferdinand Porsche creates in 1938 the "Volkswagen" (real name of the Beetle). Its commercialization begins only in 1946 thanks to the British major Ivan Hirst who prevents the planned destruction of the factory of Wolfsburg. Under the leadership of Heinrich Nordhoff, General Manager from 1948, the plant became a figurehead of the "German economic miracle" (Wirtschaftswunder). Finally, in the 1970s, Rudolf Leidung imposes the use of the traction technologie and initiated at Volkswagen the use of modules to equip the same components as a small car or a large family.
Why the departure from the rear engine principle ?
When creating the first Volkswagen, the rear engine has many advantages : better performance and less noise in the cabin. Having a trunk of reduced size or less space in the cockpit is not considered detrimental. At the end of the 60's, with the "EA266" Porsche develops the replacement of the Coccinelle for Volkswagen. The project with central engine costs too much and its production is considered unprofitable. Rudolf Leiding stops the project and decides the renew with a full range of vehicles based on front motors and the traction that are already used by Audi. Shortly after, the Passat, Polo, Scirocco and Golf ensure the survival & durability of the group.
How was the legendary Golf GTI developed ?
In 1974, despite the rejection of a management deemed dangerous a light and powerful car, a handful of engineers, convinced of the potential of a sporting Golf, secretly develop a prototype. During the presentation of the prototype to the sales manager, Dr. Schmidt is so impressed by the driving characteristics that he gave the green light to complete the project. A good decision, as it turned out.