Volkswagen Through The Years
The people's car, like most non-military production in Europe and the United States, would have to wait until after World War II ended. As German civilian industry gradually came back online in the 1940s, mass production of the VW Beetle got underway.
The Beetle proved enormously successful in the 1940s. Volkswagen expanded its product line in the 1950s by adding the VW Type 2 Bus and the Karmann Ghia sports car to its lineup. In the 1960s, VW became even more popular, thanks to the continued success of the Beetle. By 1972, the Beetle had even surpassed the Ford Model T as the best-selling car of all time. Throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, Volkswagen further diversified its lineup of vehicle offerings, issuing models such as the Passat and the Golf.
Volkswagens in America
Volkswagen was among the first European automotive brand to make in-roads into the U.S. market following World War II. The first VW Beetles to hit the roads in America came over as early as 1949. The Beetle and the VW Type 2 Bus became enormously popular in America during the 1960s, particularly with young drivers and members of the "flower power" generation.
In the 1970s, VW repackaged the Passat as the Dasher and introduced the car in the U.S. The Golf and was also rebranded and issued in the U.S. as the Rabbit. Both cars were popular for their compact style and good fuel efficiency. VW began to make further inroads into the U.S. market by issuing models such as the Scirocco sport coupe and the Rabbit GTI, which was engineered for performance.
Throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s, VW's popularity continued as the brand slowly moved more upmarket. Sales decreased for a time in the early 1990s but by the end of the decade, the company once again found its footing with American drivers. A new version of the iconic VW Beetle was issued at the turn of the Millennium and its success was followed by the introduction of new models such as the Touareg SUV and the Phaeton Sedan.
Volkswagen claims to provide extensive and diverse vehicle lineups in the current market. Compact sedans like the Jetta and Passat have been popular with American drivers for decades for their versatility, reliability and fuel economy. Both the Jetta and Passat are also currently available as wagons.
The Golf is another long-running VW model that is still popular today, and it's also more performance-minded version, the GTI. The GTI in particular has enjoyed a run as one of the most popular entry level performance cars on the U.S. market for more than a quarter century.
The Touareg was introduced in 2003, which represented the VW brand's entry into the SUV market. As a midsize crossover SUV, the Touareg was originally more rugged than many of its luxury SUV peers. However, in recent years, the Touareg has ditched its off-road capabilities in favor of enhanced on-road ability.
The Phaeton is a full-size luxury car that was issued by Volkswagen in 2002. The car was created in an effort to compete with established German luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. Although the Phaeton was designed well and executed impeccably, it sold slowly and was pulled from the U.S. market.
The Eos is another of VW's newer models. As a 2-seat hardtop convertible coupe, the Eos was first issued in 2006 and earns high marks for comfort and style, if not performance.
The VW Routan is a minivan that was unveiled in 2009. Although the Routan bears the VW badge, it is in fact a rebranded and reworked version of the current Chrysler minivan platform.
While the New Beetle may never achieve those kinds of sales figures as the original, the car has proved an enormous hit since its initial release in 1998. Not only did the New Beetle help VW revive its fortunes in the U.S. market, but it also helped to inspire the retro-futurist car craze that has since given rise to new versions of the British Mini Cooper and the Italian Fiat 500. A redesigned model was introduced in 2011, with styling designed to attract a more "masculine" audience.
Volkswagen Products and Technologies
Volkswagen can be rightfully proud with the diverse array of vehicles in its lineup and its reputation while drivers worldwide enjoy its cars. While it may not have succeeded in edging out BMW and Mercedes in the luxury sedan market, drivers all over the world appreciate Volkswagens.