Volkswagen Passenger Cars, also known as VW, is an automobile manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, Germany. It is the original as well as the largest brand by sales volume within the Volkswagen Group. Volkswagens were first exhibited and sold in the United States in 1949, but only sold two units in America that 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 standardize sales and service in the United States.
Sales soared due to the famous advertising campaigns by New York advertising agency Doyle, Dane Bernbach, led by art director Helmut Krone, and copywriters Julian Koenig and Bob Levinson. Volkswagen ads became as popular as the car, using crisp layouts and witty copy to lure the younger, sophisticated consumers with whom the car became associated. Despite the fact it was almost universally known as the Beetle, it was never officially labeled as such by the manufacturer, instead referred to as the Type 1. The first reference to the name Beetle occurred in U.S. advertising in 1968, but not until 1998 and the Golf based New Beetle was the name adopted by Volkswagen. Production of the Volkswagen Beetle increased dramatically over the years, the total reaching one million in 1955.
The Volkswagen factory at Wolfsburg came under UK control in 1945, it was to be dismantled and shipped to Britain. British car manufacturers were not interested in the Volkswagen as "the vehicle does not meet the fundamental technical requirement of a motorcar it is quite unattractive to the average buyer. To build the car commercially would be a completely uneconomic enterprise". The factory survived by producing cars for the British Army instead. Allied dismantling policy changed in late 1946 to mid 1947, although heavy industry continued to be dismantled until 1951. In March 1947 Herbert Hoover helped change policy by stating "There is the illusion that the New Germany left after the annexations can be reduced to a 'pastoral state'.
Motorsport 1966 - Volkswagen starting in Formula Vee circuit racing with cars built from easily available Beetle parts took off in Europe. It proved very popular as a low cost route into formula racing. 1971 - Volkswagen moved on to the more powerful Formula Super Vee, which became famous for showing new talent. In the 11 years it ran, until 1982, it produced a stable of world famous Formula One driver's names like Niki Lauda, Jochen Mass, Nelson Piquet, Jochen Rindt and Keke Rosberg. Volkswagen also notched up several victories, and championship in Formula Three. 1976 - Volkswagen entered the under 2000 cc Trans Am Series, with the Scirocco, and they won their class outright. 1981 - Based in Hanover, and renamed Volkswagen Motorsport, VW took a new direction into rallying, with the launch of the first generation Golf, and Sweden's Per Eklund, Frenchman Jean Luc Therier, and the Finn Pentti Airikkala. 2000 - Volkswagen started a one make racing cup with the newly released to Europe New Beetle called the ADAC New Beetle Cup. Beside that, the ADAC Volkswagen Lupo Cup, founded in 1998, continued to support young talents on the way to the top. 2001 - The new department, Volkswagen Racing was formed, and since then has concentrated all its efforts on developing its circuit racing championship, the Volkswagen Racing Cup. The final chapters in Volkswagen Racing UK's rallying story were the 'one make' Castrol Polo Challenge, and the Polo GTI 'Super 1600' 2003 - VW replaced the ADAC Volkswagen Lupo Cup with the newly released Polo, to become the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup. 2004 - Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles enter the European Truck Racing series with the Volkswagen Titan series truck it became back to back champions for the 2004 and 2005 series. The Dakar 1980 - Volkswagen competed in the Paris Dakar Rally with the Audi developed Iltis, placing 1st, 2nd, 4th and 9th overall. 2001 - Volkswagen enlists Dakar Champion Jutta Kleinschmidt, the first female to win the Dakar, to help design and compete in Dakar Racer. 2003 - The Hannover based team starts with a 2WD buggy named Tarek. It was 6th outright but took 1st in the 2WD and Diesel class. 2004 - VW enters the newly developed Race Touareg T2, finishing 6th overall and 2nd in the Diesel class. 2005 - The Touareg, an updated Race model with slightly more power is entered, with driver Bruno Saby, finishing in 3rd overall and 1st in the Diesel class. 2006 - Volkswagen released the most powerful Race Touareg yet the Race Touareg 2. Five vehicles enter, with driver Giniel de Villers finishing in 2nd place overall, and 1st in the Diesel class.
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