When Volkswagen group came into existence in the 1930's, little did anyone know that it will be a force to reckon with over 7 decades later. "The people's car" was coined by Adolf Hitler, and he ensured that the brand's production of bikes, engines and cars grew exponentially. Today, the Volkswagen brand boasts about 10 other divisions under it and has been on Forbes Global 500 list of top 10 largest companies in the world - for about 5 years in a row. With Japanese automakers steadily competing with Volkswagen as regards sales and consistency in production, the German automaker also goes the extra mile to ensure all its divisions surpasses expectations at all cost. Without keeping you waiting, here's a comprehensive list of 10 car brands under Volkswagen with the exact year Volkswagen gained the controlling stake of that company, collected by Naijauto.com!
1. AUDI - acquired in 1964
In the early 1930's, Audi began its productions as a union and part of Daimler Benz. But as Volkswagen expanded, they wanted a stake in Audi. Three decades later, they acquired the company and the Audi F103 was launched - as a first Audi series under the Volkswagen brand. The logo, four rings, is a representation of DKW, Wanderer, Horch and Audiwerke, the four companies that formed the Auto union which Audi was part of. Fun fact: Audi means "Listen" in Latin.
Sales and production increased in each of the brands after Volkswagen took over
2. BENTLEY - acquired in 1998
Bentley motors was founded by Mr W. O. Bentley in 1919 in London, England. They made the classic Bentley Turbo R, Bentley amage, Bentley speed six and a couple others. In as much as these cars were successful and even inspired the design for subsequent models, the brand was eventually acquired by Rolls Royce in 1931. Some years later, Vickers bought Rolls Royce and went on to sell Bentley to Volkswagen in 1998. With Volkswagen owning different factories across Germany, they spread out the production of different models of the Bentley across Dresden and zickau, Germany.
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3. BUGATTI - acquired in 1998
Bugatti has always been seen as a French brand. They produce luxury cars in limited units for their elite clientele. In 1998, Volkswagen acquired the company - though retained the production headquarters in France. Since then, they have released the Bugatti Veyron - the world's fastest car at a time - and the Bugatti Chiron.
4. DUCATTI - acquired in 2012
Ducatti was acquired by Volkswagen a time when it seemed like Volkswagen was taking over competing brands in Europe to beat bigger competitors ike Benz. The German automaker had taken over Lamborghini, and Ducatti was a subsidiary of the Italian brand.
Very few people know Ducati motorcycles are products of Volkswagen group
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5. LAMBORGHINI - acquired in 1998
The popular Italian car manufacturer, Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A, have always competed with fellow Italian automaker, Ferrari. In fact, their sports cars, SUVs and supercars went head to head in comparisons through out the 1960's. In 1998, through Audi, Volkswagen took over the brand. Keep in mind that Lamborghini is the parent company for the Ducatti.
6. MAN SE - acquired in 2011
A lot of Nigerians actually mistake MAN trucks for Manufacturing Association of Nigeria trucks. But this is actually a German brand known as Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nünberg or MAN AG. They are proud makers of diesel engines for marine vehicles, heavy duty trucks, buses and so on. It is owned by Volkswagen and they make over 10 billion euros in sales annually.
7. PORSCHE - acquired in 2012
Luxury brand, Porsche, is a subsidiary of the Volkswagen AG brand. With their headquarters in Germany, they make the popular Porsche Cayman Porsche panamera, Porsche cayenne and Porsche macan.
8. SCANIA AB - acquired in 2008
Formerly known as AB Scania vabis, Scania AB is a Swedish automative company that was acquired by Volkswagen many years ago. They manufacture diesel engines, trucks and buses - just like MAN. The company has been in existence since 1911, with factories in Sweden, France, India, Argentina, Netherlands and even parts of Africa. Its logo is actually the coat of arms of Scania - a place in Sweden.
Not just cars, Volkswagen also produces big guys like these Scania
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9. SEAT - acquired in 1986
SEAT or Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo was acquired by Volkswagen in 1986 - thirty six years after it came into existence. The Spanish brand has recorded almost 20 million vehicles produced since 1950 - with more made after Volkswagen took over.
10. SKODA - acquired 1994
Apparently, a lot of Nigerians didn't know Skoda is a Czech Republic brand and also one of the oldest auto brands in the world. The company first started as Laurin and Klement (funny name) in the late 18th century. Exactly 30 years later, it was taken over by Skoda. Then the Czech Republic goverment acquired the brand and renamed it Skoda works - in the mid 1920's. Decades later, the goverment decides to sell it to a private firm. In the year 2000, Volkswagen bought Skoda - 8 years after it became a private company. Volkswagen didn't quite expect the company to sell as much as it has. But critics believe this is as a result of the similarities between Skoda and VW automobiles. In fact, Skoda vehicles have more space and is more affordable. It's always worthy to note that in the last 3 years, Skoda has sold at least a million vehicles worldwide annually.
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