Volkswagen is one of the most recognizable brands in motoring. A wide range of Volkswagen cars have stood the test of time, enjoying success with revamped models across decades. The popular cars have long impressed motoring enthusiasts with their stylish design features and class leading engineering capable of delivering high levels of performance. The history of the impressive motoring giant all began with one car: the Beetle.
A Brief History
When translated into English, Volkswagen means “the people’s car”. The name reflected the German company’s aim to make driving accessible for the average working family. During the 1930s, the automobile industry was focused on luxury, and only the richest German residents could afford a car. When the company was founded in 1937, the KdF-Wagen, the first VW Beetle, was its first production model. Designed for working commuters, the KdF-Wagen was an affordable car with high-quality specifications. The company’s future looked uncertain following the end of the Second World War in 1945, but Allied forces took over operations and ramped up production of the KdF-Wagen. Producing more than 1000 models every month, it became the longest-running and most-produced car of a single design when production was finally stopped in 2003. Symbolizing the prosperity and growth of West Germany in the 1950s, Volkswagen began to expand its product line and break into foreign markets. By the 1970s, the company was enjoying international recognition with popular models like the Type 2 and Passat, and the Volkswagen brand represented the best of European motoring.
Volkswagen’s Many Models
The Beetle enjoyed a contemporary redesign in 1997 (and again in 2011), and the new model has captivated a new generation of motorists. However, many of the company’s other brands have also enjoyed great success. The reliable Golf Polo, the upmarket Passat and, of course, the classic VW Camper are all iconic, popular models. The company is eager to embrace new technologies and is making strives to develop hybrid electric versions of some of its most popular vehicles.
Volkswagen still maintains its reputation for producing well made, top-quality vehicles. Beetle, Golf and VW Camper models are still coveted by motoring enthusiasts, and earlier models are always sought out for restoration. Volkswagen continues to produce a wide, international range of cars with contemporary and stylish designs. Manufacturing executive and family ranges, as well as sporty coupé models like the Scirocco, Volkswagen are one of the definitive European car manufacturers and they have contributed to defining and renovating the motoring industry.
You can buy a Lego kit to build everything from a pirate ship to a Star Wars cruiser, wouldn’t it make since to buy specific vehicle kits too? Lego and Volkswagen have just teamed up to bring the T1 Camper Van to Lego kit form, so you can relive those hippie days.
Like most Lego products, it’s a high quality model kit. The interior is what blew me away, having the finest details and movement like the real thing. Fold out table, chairs, and drawers really add to the collectability.
In my house growing up everyone did the model cars, with paints, glue, and frustration. Usually the best intentions to build a model car ended after barely even breaking the pieces apart. I love the idea of having a complicated Lego model car or in this case van and with over 1,300 pieces it’s going to take some time!
With a price tag of $119.99, serious builders and collectors need apply.
Hard to believe, but Volkswagen will be releasing a 2011 Jetta with a sticker price of just $16,000. Today, in Times Square New York City, VW is debuting the most affordable Jetta ever built. It’s an entry level Jetta priced at just $16k, equipped with a slow but affordable 2.0 liter 115 horsepower engine.
No doubt, it’s stripped down, but hell, it’s brand new car for just $16,000! No radical styling, just clean fluent lines like found in other Jetta’s. Amazingly enough the little engine can eve bump the car from 0-60 in 8.2 seconds, so although nothing to brag about, the power is there when you need it.
Other standard features found in the $16,000 Jetta are:
- Air Conditioning
- Power Locks
- Power Windows
- CD Player
- Keyless Entry
Hopefully this bargain basement Jetta won’t come plagued with problems and be a well built machine. We don’t want this perceived value to turn into a black eye for Volkswagen.
VW debuted the latest iteration of their Phaeton model luxury car and it’s truly a visual improvement. Visitors to the Beijing Auto Show were lucky enough to lay eyes on the redesigned front end, accents, and new interior trim accents.
Performance wise the 2011 Volkswagen Phaeton will offer 2 different engine types, including a V6 Diesel engine capable of 240 horsepower and a V12 6.0 liter gasoline engine. Unfortunately for the US market this newly revamped VW model will not be offered, the Phaeton was a failure in the US, mainly due to it’s high price tag and VW badging. Most analysts felt that US consumers were not interested in spending $40,000 plus on a plain looking automobile.
Personally I love the new looks of the 2011 Phaeton and this may tempt enough buyers to increase it’s popularity in Europe and eventually make it’s way back to US shores. The rear end looks sporty, with rectangular exhaust tips and although the front is missing the big mouth bumper it does look functional. I can only imagine what the massive radiator for the 6 liter would look like hiding behind the front bumpers vents.
As for the interior, plenty of leather is on hand and the available trim makes it look just as luxury filled as any other competitors car on the market. In my eyes the only short coming of the 2011 Phaeton is it’s profile resemblance to an older Ford Taurus. There just isn’t anything from the side that hints at luxury or performance, no raked look, only a large cabin space. Perhaps by the time the Phaeton makes it back to the US they will have fixed this lack luster design flaw.
The latest news from the German auto manufacturer is that Porsche denied the merger option set forth by VW. According to insiders, VW offered to purchase 49% of Porsche. Details are sketchy, but according to a Porsche spokesman the deal apparently didn’t make sense for Porsche. Obviously this is having an impact on both stock prices in a troubling economy.
Further disappointment for Porsche comes when Germany denied a request for a multi-billion euro loan. This loan was the help alleviate financial pains felt by Porsche, for trying to purchase VW. Yes, purchase VW, apparently these companies can’t make up their mind who wants to own whom.
“Porsche will now hold talks about alternative financing possibilities,” it said in a statement.
“Porsche has always made clear that what we are talking about here is a loan for its operations that will not burden the German taxpayer,” it said.
Sounds like a power struggle that neither parties need to take part in right now. Also, echoing the sounds of the Big 3 domestic manufacturers and we all know the loans didn’t help GM. Up until just recently the head of Porsche seemed to have it right, “luxury and assistance do not fit well together.” So why start now?
That’s right, the new minivan from VW, the Routan, was built and designed by our domestic buddies Chrysler. Volkswagen, trying to attract as many customers as possible, rushed the Routan onto the market and brought a quality mini-van option to the dealership floors. Rush is not a bad thing, especially when you consider the Routan, which is based off of the wildly popular Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
The VW Routan gets almost everything right, safety, options, cargo space, and thanks to VW some decent styling. Basically the only thing touched by VW was the exterior styling ques and some of the upgraded seat options. Even more impressive is that the base price for a VW Routan is only about $26,000.
Brooke Shields has been doing her best to get the word out about the new Routan. However, according to VW only a little over 4,000 units have been sold to date. Looks like Brooke has a little ways to go before baby making becomes a Routan past time.