5 Things You Didn't Know About Volkswagen

On May 28, 1937, the government of Germany–then under the control of Adolf Hitler, founded the state owned automobile company, Volkswagenwerk. It was known as “The People’s Car Company.” Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about Volkswagen...


Hitler Wanted The German Government to Manufacture a Car for The People As head of the Nazi Party in 1937, Adolf Hitler pushed for a car to be built that the average German family could afford since he realized vehicles were too expensive for the majority of families. He wanted one built that could hold two adults and three children, reach a minimum speed of 60 mph, and be priced around that of a motorcycle. Although it was challenging to invent, Volkswagen changed the way Germans and others around the world lived by being practical and affordable.

Ferdinand Porsche Designed The Beetle Volkswagen's success wouldn't have been possible without the mastery and talent of Ferdinand Porsche. Porsche, the developer of one of the world’s most popular sports cars, and his son, designed the Volkswagen Beetle. His main objectives were to design a vehicle that was inexpensive to purchase and repair, and had an air-cooled engine. It only took him 10 months to come up with a working prototype of the first Volkswagen vehicle.This car was called the Type 1, more commonly referred to as the Beetle. It has become the foundation for Volkswagen's success. It is approximated that there have been over 25 million Beetles sold worldwide. It is one of the highest selling vehicles in the world, all thanks to Ferdinand Porsche.


It Isn’t Called the Beetle Worldwide The Volkswagen Beetle wasn’t called a Beetle at first, but the name became popular after it was referred to by that name in 1938 in an article published by The New York Times. In France, it is called the French word for ladybug; in Italian, it translates to Beetle, just as in the United States. The nickname in Bolivia is turtle; and in Indonesia, it is called the frog.

The Advertising for the Beetle Was Eye-Catching and Hilarious Volkswagen’s “Think Small” ad campaign for the Beetle was revolutionary in the advertising industry and left people laughing and heading to the nearest salesroom. Advertised as the slowest fastback, easy to push and a car that made your house look bigger, people couldn’t help but continue reading the advertisements.  In 1969, Volkswagen even ran a print ad with the tag line, "It's Ugly, but It Gets You There."

Their Cars Are Named After Winds Many of Volkswagen's most famous models are named after winds. Volkswagen has had a long history of naming their vehicles after oceanic currents.  For example, The Golf refers to the Gulf Stream, Jetta is German for "jet stream," Passat means "trade wind," the Scirocco is named after Sirocco, a Mediterranean wind, and the Polo references polar winds.