Volkswagen (VW) is one of the world''s largest automobile manufacturers. The company is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany. Volkswagen is the original marque within the Volkswagen Group, the company includes Audi, Bentley Motors, Bugatti Automobiles, Automobili Lamborghini, SEAT, Škoda Auto and heavy goods vehicle manufacturer Scania. Volkswagen translated in German means "people''s car" It got its name in 1933, when Adolf Hitler declared his intentions for a state-sponsored "Volkswagen" program. Hitler required a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children at 100 km/h (62 mph). The "People''s Car" would be available to citizens of the Third Reich through a savings scheme at 990 Reichsmark, about the price of a small motorcycle.
From 1948, Volkswagen became a very important element, symbolically and economically, of West German regeneration. Heinrich Nordhoff (1899-1968), a former senior manager at Opel who had overseen civilian and military vehicle production in the 1930s and 1940s, was recruited to run the factory in 1948. In 1949 Major Hirst left association with the company, as it had now been re-formed as a trust, controlled by the West German government, and the government of the State of Lower Saxony. Apart from the introduction of the Volkswagen Type 2 commercial vehicle (van, pick-up and camper), and the VW Karmann Ghia sports car, Nordhoff pursued the one-model policy until shortly before his death in 1968.
Volkswagens were first exhibited and sold in the United States in 1949, but only sold two units in America that first year. On its entry to the U.S. market, the VW was briefly sold as a "Victory Wagon". Volkswagen of America was formed in April 1955 to standardise sales and service in the United States. Production of the Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle increased dramatically over the years, the total reaching one million in 1955.
VW expanded its product line in 1961 with the introduction of several Type 3 models, which were essentially body style variations (Fastback, Notchback, Squareback) based on Type 1 mechanical underpinnings, and again in 1969 with the larger Type 4 (also known as the 411 and 412) models. These differed substantially from previous vehicles, with the notable introduction of monocoque/unibody construction, the option of a fully automatic transmission, electronic fuel injection, and a sturdier powerplant. Volkswagen added a "Super Beetle" (the Type 113) to its lineup in 1971.
Volkswagen was in serious trouble by 1973 VW''s ownership of Audi / Auto Union proved to be the key to the solution - with its expertise in front-wheel drive, and water-cooled engines which Volkswagen so desperately needed to produce a credible Beetle successor. Audi influences paved the way for this new generation of Volkswagens, known as the Passat, Scirocco, Golf and Polo.
While Volkswagen''s range of cars soon became similar to that of other large European automakers, the Golf has been the mainstay of the Volkswagen lineup since its introduction, and the mechanical basis for several other cars of the company. There have been six generations of the Volkswagen Golf, the first of which was produced from the summer of 1974 until the end of 1983.
Though the VW Group already had their presence in India with Škoda Auto, Volkswagen introduced the Passat and Touareg with TDI engine to India''s automobile market in September 2007. The Volkswagen plant in Chakan occupies a total area of over 575 Acres, with buildings covering about 115 thousand square metres, which means, the total premises is 2 kms. The plant was built with an investment commitment of INR 3800 Crores (580 million Euros) by Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd. It is the largest investment by a German company to date in the Indian growth market. The plant has a production capacity of 110,000 vehicles a year. The construction of the plant commenced in 2007 and has been built in a record time of 17 months. Full-fledged production has taken off at the plant with the production of the Skoda Fabia in May 2009, followed by a Polo based model in December 2009.