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1970s
1970
Jan January
Volkswagen K70

Volkswagen K70

01 Jan 1970

Our Cars

Volkswagen K70

Originally intended to be launched as the NSU K70, this vehicle developed by NSU, was re-badged and launched as the Volkswagen K70 …

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Originally intended to be launched as the NSU K70, this vehicle developed by NSU, was re-badged and launched as the Volkswagen K70 immediately after Volkswagen's takeover of NSU in 1969. This was the first Volkswagen to have a front mounted water-cooled engine and the first to have front-wheel drive. A new 1800cc engine introduced in 1973 addressed performance concerns and improved fuel economy, but it was eventually superseded by the new generation Volkswagen Passat in 1974.
Feb February
Mar March
Volkswagen and Europcar

Volkswagen and Europcar

01 Mar 1970

Our Story

Volkswagen and Europcar

Volkswagen Group increases its involvement in the car rental market with the takeover of the "Selbstfahrer-Union", Germany's larges…

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Volkswagen Group increases its involvement in the car rental market with the takeover of the "Selbstfahrer-Union", Germany's largest automobile rental agency. Renamed "interRent Autovermietung GmbH", the subsidiary merges in 1988 with Europcar and is renamed "Europcar International S.A.". Volkswagen owns a 50% interest in the company located in Boulogne, which operates in eight countries and has its own fleet of 40,000 vehicles. On January 1, 2000, Volkswagen assumes 100% ownership of Europcar group.
Apr April
May May
Jun June
Jul July
K70, the next generation of VW

K70, the next generation of VW

01 Jul 1970

Our Story

K70, the next generation of VW

The K70, the first front-wheel drive and water-cooled Volkswagen, leaves the assembly line in the newly erected plant in Salzgitter…

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The K70, the first front-wheel drive and water-cooled Volkswagen, leaves the assembly line in the newly erected plant in Salzgitter. The sedan is brought into the programme under the Volkswagen trademark and, as an interim model, marks the transition to a new Volkswagen generation. In the future the Salzgitter site proves to be the most important location for engine construction within the Volkswagen group.
Aug August
Sep September
Oct October
Nov November
Dec December
1970
1971
Jan January
Volkswagen assembly line hits 20,000,000

Volkswagen assembly line hits 20,000,000

01 Jan 1971

Our Story

Volkswagen assembly line hits 20,000,000

The 20 millionth Volkswagen leaves the assembly line.

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The 20 millionth Volkswagen leaves the assembly line.
Computer diagnostics aid technology and service

Computer diagnostics aid technology and service

01 Jan 1971

Our Story

Computer diagnostics aid technology and service

Data processing arrives in the fields of car technology and service. All Volkswagen models can now be checked for functional and op…

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Data processing arrives in the fields of car technology and service. All Volkswagen models can now be checked for functional and operational reliability with the help of computer diagnosis. Along with the introduction of a central plug for computer testing, Volkswagen's service workshops are gradually equipped with computers. Data processing also provides research and development activities with new initiatives, for example the use of an automatic scanning device in the design of bodyshells.
Dr. Ing. h.c. Rudolf Leiding

Dr. Ing. h.c. Rudolf Leiding

01 Jan 1971

People

Dr. Ing. h.c. Rudolf Leiding

Dr. Ing. h.c. Rudolf Leidingwas the third post-war Chairman of the Volkswagen automobile company (Volkswagenwerk AG), succeeding Ku…

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Dr. Ing. h.c. Rudolf Leidingwas the third post-war Chairman of the Volkswagen automobile company (Volkswagenwerk AG), succeeding Kurt Lotz in 1971. Less than three weeks after taking over from Lotz at Wolfsburg, Leiding halted work on EA266 (Development Project 266). This was the development of a sophisticated - (from a production engineer's standpoint over-sophisticated) - mid-engined successor to the Beetle which was being developed by a Porsche team under a well regarded young engineer named Piëch on Volkswagen's behalf. Under Leiding's leadership, the Volkswagen Golf was completed, and went on sale in Europe in June 1974, introduced in North America as the Rabbit seven months later. The Golf was credited with saving VW from possible bankruptcy after the company had relied on the Beetle too long. Rudolf Leiding left the company early in 1975 and was replaced by Toni Schmücker.
Grimsby home of Volkswagen imports

Grimsby home of Volkswagen imports

01 Jan 1971

Our Story

Grimsby home of Volkswagen imports

To cope with the number of Volkswagens being imported and to make delivery to the north easier, Volkswagen Motors Limited began to …

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To cope with the number of Volkswagens being imported and to make delivery to the north easier, Volkswagen Motors Limited began to import cars through Grimsby. In September 1973 it is announced that a new berth would be built at Grimsby, allowing up to 50,000 cars a year to come through the port and Volkswagen Motors (GB) develops a new distribution centre just outside the docks which opens in May 1975.
Volkswagen America start Formula Super Vee

Volkswagen America start Formula Super Vee

01 Jan 1971

Our Story

Volkswagen America start Formula Super Vee

In 1971, Volkswagen of America starts the more powerful Formula Super Vee, which becomes famous for hothousing new talent. In the 1…

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In 1971, Volkswagen of America starts the more powerful Formula Super Vee, which becomes famous for hothousing new talent. In the 11 years it runs, until 1982, it produced a stable of world-famous Formula One drivers' names like Niki Lauda, Jochen Mass, Nelson Piquet, Jochen Rindt and Keke Rosberg. Volkswagen also notch up several victories, and the championship in Formula Three.
Volkswagen Bruxelles

Volkswagen Bruxelles

06 Jan 1971

Our Story

Volkswagen Bruxelles

By means of a capital investment, Volkswagenwerk AG acquires a 75% share of "Volkswagen Bruxelles SA." The company is responsible f…

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By means of a capital investment, Volkswagenwerk AG acquires a 75% share of "Volkswagen Bruxelles SA." The company is responsible for imports to Belgium and runs the assembly plant built by the authorised importer, which has a capacity of 400 vehicles a day. Volkswagen Bruxelles becomes a 100% subsidiary of Volkswagenwerk AG at the end of 1975. When Audi assumes responsibility for production at the Brussels plant, the name of the company is changed to "Audi Brussels S.A/N.V." on May 30, 2007.
Feb February
Mar March
Apr April
Jun June
Jul July
Aug August
Sep September
Oct October
Rudolf Leiding

Rudolf Leiding

01 Oct 1971

 0177 Layer 1

Rudolf Leiding

Rudolf Leiding, former President of Volkswagen do Brasil and Board Chairman of Audi NSU Auto Union AG, becomes Chairman of Volkswag…

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Rudolf Leiding, former President of Volkswagen do Brasil and Board Chairman of Audi NSU Auto Union AG, becomes Chairman of Volkswagen's Board of Management.
Nov November
Dec December
1971
1972
Jan January
Siegfried Ehlers

Siegfried Ehlers

01 Jan 1972

 0057 Layer 9

Siegfried Ehlers

In 1972, Siegfried Ehlers became Chairman of the General Works Council.

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In 1972, Siegfried Ehlers became Chairman of the General Works Council.
Italdesign designs for Volkswagen

Italdesign designs for Volkswagen

01 Jan 1972

Italdesign is responsible for the design of several notable Volkswagen vehicles including the first generation Volkswagen Golf (1974), Volkswagen Scirocco (1974) and Volkswagen Passat (1973). Ferdinand Piëch apprenticed at Italdesign during the summer of 1972, learning about engineering and design. Giorgetto Giugiaro was Head of Italdesign, a Volkswagen AG Design Company and designed the first generation Golf which debuted in 1974. Giugiaro was attributed to the design of 1974 Golf / Rabbit, 1973 Passat and 1997 W12 Coupé & Roadster.
Feb February
Beetle breaks "Tin Lizzy" record

Beetle breaks "Tin Lizzy" record

17 Feb 1972

Our Story

Beetle breaks "Tin Lizzy" record

With 15,007,034 units produced, the Beetle breaks the record of the legendary "Tin Lizzy," the Ford Motor Company's Model-T built f…

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With 15,007,034 units produced, the Beetle breaks the record of the legendary "Tin Lizzy," the Ford Motor Company's Model-T built from 1908 to 1927. The Beetle is the new world champion.
Beetle overtakes rival Ford

Beetle overtakes rival Ford

17 Feb 1972

Trivia

Beetle overtakes rival Ford

With 15,007,034 units produced, the Beetle breaks the record set by the legendary 'Tin Lizzy', the Ford Motor Company's Model-T bui…

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With 15,007,034 units produced, the Beetle breaks the record set by the legendary 'Tin Lizzy', the Ford Motor Company's Model-T built from 1908 to 1927. The Beetle is the new world champion.
Mar March
Volkswagen and UNIS

Volkswagen and UNIS

08 Mar 1972

 0178 Background

Volkswagen and UNIS

Volkswagen signs an investment agreement with the Yugoslavian importer UNIS concerning the erection of a local production site. In …

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Volkswagen signs an investment agreement with the Yugoslavian importer UNIS concerning the erection of a local production site. In accordance with this agreement, the joint enterprise "Tvornica Automobila Sarajevo" (TAS), is founded on June 14. TAS, of which Volkswagenwerk AG holds 49% of the capital, initially produces replacement parts and standard production parts for the Volkswagen. After a year long construction period, the new plant starts assembling the VW 1200, 1300 and 1303. In 1976, the site shifts over to the production of the Golf. On September 28, 1989, the 300,000th Volkswagen, an Alpine White Golf, rolls off the assembly line. The civil war and declining economic conditions cause a halt in production. Beginning on July 30, 1998, the cooperation between Volkswagen and UNIS continues with the "Volkswagen Sarajevo, d.o.o.". The company takes over TAS's heavily damaged production site and starts producing Skoda vehicles on August 31. In 2002, production of the Golf is added. Various Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda brand models are currently assembled at the plant.
Apr April
May May
Jun June
A new General Works Council

A new General Works Council

21 Jun 1972

Our Story

A new General Works Council

Based on the provisions of the revised law governing industrial relations, a new General Works Council is set up and given expanded…

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Based on the provisions of the revised law governing industrial relations, a new General Works Council is set up and given expanded rights of co-determination and involvement. Siegfried Ehlers is elected Chairman.
Jul July
Aug August
Douglas Miller

Douglas Miller

01 Aug 1972

People

Douglas Miller

In August 1972, Douglas Miller Became Managing Director of Volkswagen (GB) Limited.

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In August 1972, Douglas Miller Became Managing Director of Volkswagen (GB) Limited.
Douglas Miller becomes Managing Director of Volkswagen (GB) Limited

Douglas Miller becomes Managing Director of Volkswagen (GB) Limited

01 Aug 1972

Our Story

Douglas Miller becomes Managing Director of Volkswagen (GB) Limited

In the spring of 1972 three directors of Volkswagen (GB) leave the company to set up the Mazda franchise in Britain and not long af…

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In the spring of 1972 three directors of Volkswagen (GB) leave the company to set up the Mazda franchise in Britain and not long after this Alan Dix moves to America. Douglas Miller is appointed as Managing Director, his previous experience had been with a paint company, Bergers and Carlsberg Breweries. During the time that the Volkswagen franchise was owned by Thomas Tilling, it set-up a subsidiary company called Dovercourt to operate five dealerships.
Volkswagen 412 Type 4

Volkswagen 412 Type 4

01 Aug 1972

Our Cars

Volkswagen 412 Type 4

The 412 was re-designed as the 411 and in 1973 had a larger 1795cc engine fitted. This engine was also available for some Beetle mo…

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The 412 was re-designed as the 411 and in 1973 had a larger 1795cc engine fitted. This engine was also available for some Beetle models after 412 production finished.
Sep September
Oct October
Nov November
Dec December
1972
1973
Jan January
Volkswagen bank

Volkswagen bank

01 Jan 1973

Our Story

Volkswagen bank

An expansion of services and an increase of financing volume make it necessary to convert the Volkswagen-Finanzierungs-Gesellschaft…

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An expansion of services and an increase of financing volume make it necessary to convert the Volkswagen-Finanzierungs-Gesellschaft mbH (Financial Services) into a "full-service" bank. After the governmental supervisory agency for credit institutions gives its approval for the operation of banking business, the company is renamed "VW Kredit Bank GmbH". Its activities are still limited to loans connected to the automobile business. In 1978 the company would be renamed "V.A.G Kredit Bank GmbH."
Motorsport move to Hanover

Motorsport move to Hanover

01 Jan 1973

Our Story

Motorsport move to Hanover

Volkswagen Motorsport moved to Hanover.

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Volkswagen Motorsport moved to Hanover.
Feb February
Volkswagen in Nigeria

Volkswagen in Nigeria

07 Feb 1973

Our Story

Volkswagen in Nigeria

"Volkswagen of Nigeria Ltd." is founded in Lagos with the participation of the Nigerian government. Volkswagenwerk AG holds 40% of …

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"Volkswagen of Nigeria Ltd." is founded in Lagos with the participation of the Nigerian government. Volkswagenwerk AG holds 40% of the company's shares. Setting up production Nigeria increases Volkswagen's production capacity on the African continent and is aimed at developing an export market for Volkswagen's subsidiaries in Brazil and Mexico. In March 1975, Volkswagen of Nigeria begins producing the Beetle, Passat, Audi 100 and Brasilia. In 1976, it manufactures over 16,000 vehicles, increasing its market share in the passenger car sector to 23.5%.
Mar March
John Wagner

John Wagner

01 Mar 1973

People

John Wagner

On 01 March 1973 John Wagner became the Managing Director of the newly reorganised Volkswagen GB Limited owned by Thomas Tiling. Wa…

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On 01 March 1973 John Wagner became the Managing Director of the newly reorganised Volkswagen GB Limited owned by Thomas Tiling. Wagner was replaced by Michael Heelas on 01 September 1975
Volkswagen (GB) Limited and Audi become one

Volkswagen (GB) Limited and Audi become one

01 Mar 1973

Our Story

Volkswagen (GB) Limited and Audi become one

In 1973, Thomas Tilling carries out a major re-organisation of Volkswagen (GB) Limited merging the Volkswagen and Audi brands into …

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In 1973, Thomas Tilling carries out a major re-organisation of Volkswagen (GB) Limited merging the Volkswagen and Audi brands into one and their dealer networks are also merged into one. John Wagner takes over as Managing Director. By January 1975 more than 200 dealerships in the UK are selling both marques.
Apr April
May May
Unit construction rationalises production

Unit construction rationalises production

01 May 1973

Innovation

Unit construction rationalises production

Unit construction is introduced, allowing the same parts to be used in various brands and models with essentially the same technolo…

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Unit construction is introduced, allowing the same parts to be used in various brands and models with essentially the same technology. So, for example, the Passat is closely related to the Audi 80 and the Polo related to the Audi 50. The unit construction system is an essential part of the new production concept and allows for considerable rationalisation by using standardised parts for the various models. This concept marks an important step towards guaranteeing Volkswagen AG's long-term profitability .
Unit construction rationalises production

Unit construction rationalises production

01 May 1973

Our Story

Unit construction rationalises production

Unit construction is introduced, allowing the same parts to be used in various brands and models with essentially the same technolo…

Read more…
Unit construction is introduced, allowing the same parts to be used in various brands and models with essentially the same technology. So, for example, the Passat is closely related to the Audi 80 and the Polo related to the Audi 50. The unit construction system is an essential part of the new production concept and allows for considerable rationalisation by using standardised parts for the various models. This concept marks an important step towards guaranteeing Volkswagen AG's long-term profitability .
The Passat

The Passat

01 May 1973

Our Story

The Passat

The Passat, the first model of the new Volkswagen generation, goes into production and arrives in the UK for sale. Technically, it …

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The Passat, the first model of the new Volkswagen generation, goes into production and arrives in the UK for sale. Technically, it is closely related to the Audi 80 and is built according to the unit construction system, allowing for considerable rationalisation by using standardised parts for the various models. The Passat becomes the successor to the VW 1600.
Passat B1

Passat B1

01 May 1973

Our Cars

Passat B1

The first model of the new Volkswagen generation, the Passat becomes the successor to the VW1600 and is mechanically & technically …

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The first model of the new Volkswagen generation, the Passat becomes the successor to the VW1600 and is mechanically & technically closely related to the Audi 80. It features front-wheel drive, water-cooled 4 cylinder overhead camshaft engine and a unitised body. Introduced as 2 & 4-door saloons and 3 & 5-door hatch with 55 PS to 85 PS petrol engines.
Jun June
Jul July
Restructuring of US distribution system

Restructuring of US distribution system

01 Jul 1973

Our Story

Restructuring of US distribution system

Restructuring of the US distribution system is completed by assuming responsibility for the wholesale function. Following the takeo…

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Restructuring of the US distribution system is completed by assuming responsibility for the wholesale function. Following the takeover of both Californian distributors, the distribution subsidiary merges with Volkswagen of America, Inc.; from now on, regional distribution centres are responsible for sales areas. Dealings with car parts and accessories are assumed by "Volume Export & Trading Corporation", which is founded in 1973 in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. This company is owned by the Volkswagen's subsidiary in Basel "Holad Holding & Administration AG" and is renamed "VOTEX, Inc." in 1976.
Aug August
Sep September
Oct October
Nov November
Dec December
1973
1974
Jan January
Volkswagen and Audi brands unify in Germany

Volkswagen and Audi brands unify in Germany

01 Jan 1974

Our Story

Volkswagen and Audi brands unify in Germany

When Volkswagen took over Auto Union in Germany the management decided to keep Volkswagen and Audi quite separate but, in 1974, the…

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When Volkswagen took over Auto Union in Germany the management decided to keep Volkswagen and Audi quite separate but, in 1974, there is a change in policy and it's decided to unify the two brands. There had already been a similar merger in Britain in 1973.
Volkswagen Dasher

Volkswagen Dasher

01 Jan 1974

Trivia

Volkswagen Dasher

In North America, the Passat was known as the Volkswagen Dasher. The Passat was sold under the name Dasher in North America until 1…

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In North America, the Passat was known as the Volkswagen Dasher. The Passat was sold under the name Dasher in North America until 1981.
Giorgetto Giugiaro

Giorgetto Giugiaro

01 Jan 1974

 0037 Layer 29

Giorgetto Giugiaro

Giorgetto Giugiaro was Head of Italdesign, a Volkswagen AG Design Company and designed the First generation Golf which debuted in 1…

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Giorgetto Giugiaro was Head of Italdesign, a Volkswagen AG Design Company and designed the First generation Golf which debuted in 1974. Giugiaro was attributed to the design of 1974 Golf / Rabbit, 1973 Passat and 1997 W12 Coupé & Roadster.
Passat B1 Variant

Passat B1 Variant

01 Jan 1974

Our Cars

Passat B1 Variant

This model was introduced in 1974.

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This model was introduced in 1974.
Feb February
Scirocco production begins

Scirocco production begins

01 Feb 1974

Our Story

Scirocco production begins

The Scirocco, a sporty coupé jointly developed with Giorgio Giugiaro, goes into series production at car-body maker Karmann in Osna…

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The Scirocco, a sporty coupé jointly developed with Giorgio Giugiaro, goes into series production at car-body maker Karmann in Osnabrück. Based on the technical concept for the Golf, the Scirocco is characterized by its striking design, innovative technology and high standard of everyday utility. The Scirocco successfully opens a new market segment for Volkswagen and 504,153 first-generation models are sold.
Scirocco Mk I

Scirocco Mk I

01 Feb 1974

Our Cars

Scirocco Mk I

The Scirocco Mk I was a sporty coupé based on the technical concept for the Golf, characterised by a striking design and it success…

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The Scirocco Mk I was a sporty coupé based on the technical concept for the Golf, characterised by a striking design and it successfully opened a new market segment for Volkswagen. It was the replacement for the ageing Karmann Ghia coupé and available at launch with 1,500cc 70 or 80 bhp engines. There were subtle changes to body and trim in its lifetime and a special edition called The Storm was introduced between 1978-9.
Mar March
Golf production begins

Golf production begins

29 Mar 1974

Mk I Golf

Golf production begins

Production of the Golf begins in Wolfsburg. This compact car quickly becomes a bestseller.

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Production of the Golf begins in Wolfsburg. This compact car quickly becomes a bestseller.
Apr April
May May
Golf Mk I

Golf Mk I

01 May 1974

Mk I Golf

Golf Mk I

In May 1974 the first glimpse of the long-awaited successor to the Volkswagen Beetle, bearing the name "Golf" takes on the task of …

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In May 1974 the first glimpse of the long-awaited successor to the Volkswagen Beetle, bearing the name "Golf" takes on the task of living up to its ageing but distinguished predecessor. The Golf was launched in May 1974 with a 1.5-litre engine rated at 51 kW (70 bhp). The Golf created a genuine sensation when it appeared, and by October 27th, 1976 one million had already been built.
Jun June
Workforce reduced through voluntary redundancy

Workforce reduced through voluntary redundancy

01 Jun 1974

Our Story

Workforce reduced through voluntary redundancy

Volkswagen reacts to the economic collapse in the aftermath of the oil crisis and the ensuing global recession with the introductio…

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Volkswagen reacts to the economic collapse in the aftermath of the oil crisis and the ensuing global recession with the introduction of voluntary redundancy packages however it does not ease the problem of excess personnel. The workforce is finally reduced through early retirement, voluntary redundancy and transfers within the company. Between January and October 1975 some 32,761 employees leave the company.
The Group Works Council is founded

The Group Works Council is founded

17 Jun 1974

Our Story

The Group Works Council is founded

The Group Works Council is founded and Siegfried Ehlers is elected as Chairman.

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The Group Works Council is founded and Siegfried Ehlers is elected as Chairman.
Jul July
Last Beetle leaves Wolfsburg

Last Beetle leaves Wolfsburg

01 Jul 1974

Trivia

Last Beetle leaves Wolfsburg

At 11.19 a.m, the last of almost twelve million Beetles leaves the assembly line in Wolfsburg.

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At 11.19 a.m, the last of almost twelve million Beetles leaves the assembly line in Wolfsburg.
Last Beetle leaves Wolfsburg

Last Beetle leaves Wolfsburg

01 Jul 1974

Our Story

Last Beetle leaves Wolfsburg

At 11.19 a.m. the last of almost twelve million Beetle leaves the assembly line in Wolfsburg. 11,916,519 Beetles were built since 1…

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At 11.19 a.m. the last of almost twelve million Beetle leaves the assembly line in Wolfsburg. 11,916,519 Beetles were built since 1945.
Wolfsburg's last Beetle

Wolfsburg's last Beetle

01 Jul 1974

Our Cars

Wolfsburg's last Beetle

At 11.19 a.m. the last of almost twelve million Beetle leaves the Wolfsburg assembly line in Wolfsburg.

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At 11.19 a.m. the last of almost twelve million Beetle leaves the Wolfsburg assembly line in Wolfsburg.
Aug August
Sep September
Oct October
Nov November
Hans Birnbaum

Hans Birnbaum

06 Nov 1974

 0058 Layer 8

Hans Birnbaum

On 06 November 1974, Hans Birnbaum became Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Supervisory Board.

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On 06 November 1974, Hans Birnbaum became Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Supervisory Board.
Hans Birnbaum

Hans Birnbaum

06 Nov 1974

Our Story

Hans Birnbaum

Hans Birnbaum becomes Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Supervisory Board.

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Hans Birnbaum becomes Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Supervisory Board.
Dec December
1974
1975
Jan January
Advances in production

Advances in production

01 Jan 1975

Our Story

Advances in production

The transformation of the model mix within just a few years is accompanied by far-reaching changes in production. Innovative engine…

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The transformation of the model mix within just a few years is accompanied by far-reaching changes in production. Innovative engineering and organisational production procedures are required to meet the high level of mechanisation of the Beetle and to the following generations of Volkswagens. To this end, the company embarks on an investment programme involving 2.5 billion DM between 1972 and 1975, with which the technical basis for the production of a new range of products is to be created. The plants in Wolfsburg and Emden are equipped with a suspension assembly system in 1973 allowing for production that is more flexible and for improvement of assembly conditions. The use of electronic data processing greatly aids rationalisation, for example in the press shop, where production is now directed and controlled centrally. The company reduces the production of air-cooled engines, while increasing capacities for water-cooled engines and includes new engines with the appropriate manual and automatic transmissions in its programme. Volkswagen gradually creates the pre-requisites for unit construction, allowing the use of the same parts for various models with essentially the same technology. The unit construction system is an essential part of the new production concept and an important step towards guaranteeing the company's long-term profitability.
Toni Schmücker

Toni Schmücker

01 Jan 1975

 0059 Layer 7

Toni Schmücker

Toni Schmücker became Chairman of the Volkswagen board in February 1975, succeeding Rudolf Leiding. Schmücker brought to the job a …

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Toni Schmücker became Chairman of the Volkswagen board in February 1975, succeeding Rudolf Leiding. Schmücker brought to the job a combination of political skill and personal charm that had eluded his two immediate predecessors. At the time Schmücker took up the post, Volkswagen had just staved off bankruptcy with the introduction of the Volkswagen Golf (marketed as the Rabbit in North America and as the Caribe in Latin America), which would eventually replace the Volkswagen Beetle. One of Schmücker's first financial achievements at Wolfsburg involved reducing the Volkswagen workforce by 25,000 employees during 1975, applying, in the words of a contemporary industry commentator, methods and systems he had learned at Ford. The loss making assembly plant in Australia was closed, but after a period of rationalisation he placed the plants in Mexico and Brazil on a sounder footing for growth than that on which he had found them. In September 1976, Schmücker made history by securing a deal to build the Volkswagen Westmoreland Assembly Plant near New Stanton, Pennsylvania, making VW the first non-American car company to build its products in the United States since the 1930's.
Polo Mk I

Polo Mk I

01 Jan 1975

Our Cars

Polo Mk I

In March 1975 a low-specification sister-model to the otherwise identical Audi 50 is introduced as "Polo" powered by a 29 kW (40 bh…

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In March 1975 a low-specification sister-model to the otherwise identical Audi 50 is introduced as "Polo" powered by a 29 kW (40 bhp) engine. The trade press is however, surprised by Volkswagen's subsequent policy of upgrading the Polo until it succeeds in forcing the more luxurious Audi 50 off the market in July 1978.
Feb February
Toni Schmücker

Toni Schmücker

10 Feb 1975

 0059 Layer 7

Toni Schmücker

Toni Schmücker becomes Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Board of Management.

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Toni Schmücker becomes Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Board of Management.
Mar March
Polo production begins

Polo production begins

01 Mar 1975

Our Story

Polo production begins

Production of the Polo begins in Wolfsburg. The Polo is positioned on the small car market as a less expensive version of the nearl…

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Production of the Polo begins in Wolfsburg. The Polo is positioned on the small car market as a less expensive version of the nearly identical Audi 50.
Apr April
May May
Jun June
Jul July
Focus on Volkswagen property portfolio

Focus on Volkswagen property portfolio

01 Jul 1975

Our Story

Focus on Volkswagen property portfolio

"VW-Siedlungsgesellschaft mbH" stops constructing new buildings for the time being, concentrating its activities on administration …

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"VW-Siedlungsgesellschaft mbH" stops constructing new buildings for the time being, concentrating its activities on administration and maintenance of almost 6,000 company-owned apartments. It assumes these tasks from "VW-Wohnungsbau Gemeinnétzige Gesellschaft m.b.H." which has performed maintenance and repair work on older buildings since 1973. The companies have a total of 13,317 apartments between them.
Aug August
Sep September
Michael Heelas

Michael Heelas

01 Sep 1975

People

Michael Heelas

In September 1975, Michael Heelas, previously Managing Director of another Thomas Tilling company, Mercedes-Benz (GB) Limited, repl…

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In September 1975, Michael Heelas, previously Managing Director of another Thomas Tilling company, Mercedes-Benz (GB) Limited, replaced John Wagner as Managing Director. Micheal Heelas retired from V.A.G UK at the end of 1988.
Michael Heelas becomes MD of Volkswagen (GB) Limited

Michael Heelas becomes MD of Volkswagen (GB) Limited

01 Sep 1975

Our Story

Michael Heelas becomes MD of Volkswagen (GB) Limited

Michael Heelas previously Managing Director of another Thomas Tilling company, Mercedes-Benz (GB) Limited replaces John Wagner as M…

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Michael Heelas previously Managing Director of another Thomas Tilling company, Mercedes-Benz (GB) Limited replaces John Wagner as Managing Director.
Roland 'Tiny' Rowland

Roland 'Tiny' Rowland

15 Sep 1975

 0010 Layer 56

Roland 'Tiny' Rowland

The powerful Lonrho Group, headed by "Tiny" Rowlands announces that it has made a successful bid for Volkswagen (GB) Limited, the a…

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The powerful Lonrho Group, headed by "Tiny" Rowlands announces that it has made a successful bid for Volkswagen (GB) Limited, the agreement taking effect on 1 October.
Lonrho Plc buys Volkswagen (GB) Limited from Thomas Tilling

Lonrho Plc buys Volkswagen (GB) Limited from Thomas Tilling

15 Sep 1975

Our Story

Lonrho Plc buys Volkswagen (GB) Limited from Thomas Tilling

The powerful Lonrho Group, headed by Roland "Tiny" Rowlands announces that it has made a successful bid for Volkswagen (GB) Limited…

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The powerful Lonrho Group, headed by Roland "Tiny" Rowlands announces that it has made a successful bid for Volkswagen (GB) Limited, the agreement taking effect on 1 October.
Oct October
Nov November
Dec December
1975
1976
Jan January
Volkswagen enter Trans-Am Series

Volkswagen enter Trans-Am Series

01 Jan 1976

Our Story

Volkswagen enter Trans-Am Series

In 1976, Volkswagen enters the under-2000-cc Trans-Am Series, with the Scirocco, and they win their class outright. The Trans-Am Se…

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In 1976, Volkswagen enters the under-2000-cc Trans-Am Series, with the Scirocco, and they win their class outright. The Trans-Am Series is an automobile racing series created in 1966 by the Sports Car Club of America.
Feb February
Mar March
Motor Producers Limited sells out to Nissan Motor Company

Motor Producers Limited sells out to Nissan Motor Company

31 Mar 1976

Our Story

Motor Producers Limited sells out to Nissan Motor Company

Volkswagenwerk AG sells Motor Producers Ltd. to the "Nissan Motor Company Ltd.," which has owned shares of the Australian Volkswage…

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Volkswagenwerk AG sells Motor Producers Ltd. to the "Nissan Motor Company Ltd.," which has owned shares of the Australian Volkswagen subsidiary since 1973. The assembly of Volkswagen products continues until the end of 1976. Afterwards, the independent authorised agent imports only finished Volkswagen and Audi models.
Apr April
May May
Jun June
The Volkswagen Rabbit

The Volkswagen Rabbit

01 Jun 1976

Trivia

The Volkswagen Rabbit

The Volkswagen Rabbit was the American version of the Golf.

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The Volkswagen Rabbit was the American version of the Golf.
Golf GTI Mk I

Golf GTI Mk I

01 Jun 1976

Our Cars

Golf GTI Mk I

The Golf created a genuine sensation when it appeared, and by October 1976 one million had already been built. In the same short pe…

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The Golf created a genuine sensation when it appeared, and by October 1976 one million had already been built. In the same short period, Volkswagen introduced a large number of alternative versions and in June 1976, the now-legendary "GTI", which with its 81 kW (110 bhp) engine inspired a whole generation of sporting compacts.
Volkswagen takes leading role in low-consumption diesel technology

Volkswagen takes leading role in low-consumption diesel technology

21 Jun 1976

9

Volkswagen takes leading role in low-consumption diesel technology

At the Salzgitter site, the first 4 cylinder 1.5 litre diesel engine with 50 hp leaves the assembly belt. The new engine, developed…

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At the Salzgitter site, the first 4 cylinder 1.5 litre diesel engine with 50 hp leaves the assembly belt. The new engine, developed by a research project over many years, is used in the Golf Diesel for the first time, and with a fuel consumption of 6 litres per 100 km, sets new standards of economy and provides the basis for Volkswagen's leading role in low-consumption diesel technology.
Volkswagen leads way in diesel technology

Volkswagen leads way in diesel technology

21 Jun 1976

Our Story

Volkswagen leads way in diesel technology

At the Salzgitter site, the first 4 cylinder 1.5 litre diesel engine with 50 hp leaves the assembly belt. The new engine, developed…

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At the Salzgitter site, the first 4 cylinder 1.5 litre diesel engine with 50 hp leaves the assembly belt. The new engine, developed by a research project over many years, is used in the Golf Diesel for the first time, and with a fuel consumption of 6 litres per 100 km, sets new standards of economy and provides the basis for Volkswagen's leading role in low-consumption diesel technology.
Jul July
Volkswagen Manufacturing Corporation of America established

Volkswagen Manufacturing Corporation of America established

06 Jul 1976

Our Story

Volkswagen Manufacturing Corporation of America established

In response to pressure from the downward Dollar exchange rate impacting on Volkswagen exports to the USA, "Volkswagen Manufacturin…

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In response to pressure from the downward Dollar exchange rate impacting on Volkswagen exports to the USA, "Volkswagen Manufacturing Corporation of America" is established to set up production in the United States. The new subsidiary acquires a press shop in South Charleston, West Virginia and an assembly plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. Production of the Golf for the North American market begins there in April 1978. Engines and gearboxes come from Germany, rear axles and radiators from Volkswagen de Mexico and the remaining parts chiefly from the US automotive supplier industry. The new production company merges on July 31, 1978 with Volkswagen of America, Inc. Corporate headquarters move from Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey to Warren, Michigan. Following the introduction of two-shift production in 1979, the Westmoreland plant with its workforce of 9,102 reaches the production target of 1,000 vehicles per day.
Aug August
Sep September
Oct October
Golf production reaches 1,000,000

Golf production reaches 1,000,000

27 Oct 1976

Mk I Golf

Golf production reaches 1,000,000

The one-millionth Golf rolls off the Wolfsburg assembly line.

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The one-millionth Golf rolls off the Wolfsburg assembly line.
Nov November
Volkswagen totals 30 Million

Volkswagen totals 30 Million

01 Nov 1976

Our Story

Volkswagen totals 30 Million

30 million Volkswagens built since the start of production.

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30 million Volkswagens built since the start of production.
Dec December
1976
1977
Jan January
The Derby production begins

The Derby production begins

01 Jan 1977

Our Story

The Derby production begins

The Derby, a notchback version developed on the technical basis of the Polo goes into production.

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The Derby, a notchback version developed on the technical basis of the Polo goes into production.
Passat B1 facelift

Passat B1 facelift

01 Jan 1977

Our Cars

Passat B1 facelift

The facelift for all models takes the form of an interior upgrade, revised styling and headlights. A 50 PS Diesel engine is introdu…

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The facelift for all models takes the form of an interior upgrade, revised styling and headlights. A 50 PS Diesel engine is introduced in July 1978 and a 1.6GLi in February 1979.
Feb February
Derby Mk I

Derby Mk I

01 Feb 1977

Polo and 1977 Derby

Derby Mk I

In February 1977 the "Derby" is introduced as a notchback version of the Polo. The Derby is a highly practical, undemanding means o…

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In February 1977 the "Derby" is introduced as a notchback version of the Polo. The Derby is a highly practical, undemanding means of transport appealing to buyers of both sexes whose motoring is determined by a tight budget.
Mar March
Apr April
Volkswagen International Finance N.V. established

Volkswagen International Finance N.V. established

15 Apr 1977

Our Story

Volkswagen International Finance N.V. established

Volkswagenwerk AG forms "Volkswagen International Finance N.V." with main offices in Amsterdam. This 100% Volkswagen subsidiary own…

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Volkswagenwerk AG forms "Volkswagen International Finance N.V." with main offices in Amsterdam. This 100% Volkswagen subsidiary owns the "Volkswagen Overseas Finance N.V." in Willemstad and finances the Group's activities on the international market, including shares in foreign companies.
May May
Jun June
Freight facility opens

Freight facility opens

29 Jun 1977

Our Story

Freight facility opens

The freight facility on the Delaware River in Wilmington, Delaware is opened. It includes a floating pier, an unloading ramp and wa…

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The freight facility on the Delaware River in Wilmington, Delaware is opened. It includes a floating pier, an unloading ramp and warehouses as well as a loading platform with three railroad spurs. Because of its central location on the East coast of the United States, Wilmington becomes the main Volkswagen port for the United States.
Jul July
Supervisory board elected

Supervisory board elected

05 Jul 1977

Our Story

Supervisory board elected

In accordance with the Co-determination Law of 01 July 1976, the annual shareholders meeting elects a new Supervisory Board. Ten of…

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In accordance with the Co-determination Law of 01 July 1976, the annual shareholders meeting elects a new Supervisory Board. Ten of its members represent employees, ten members represent management.
Aug August
Volkswagen deal with MAN for light trucks

Volkswagen deal with MAN for light trucks

25 Aug 1977

Our Story

Volkswagen deal with MAN for light trucks

Volkswagenwerk AG increases its involvement in the commercial vehicle business. The cooperation contract signed with the Maschinenf…

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Volkswagenwerk AG increases its involvement in the commercial vehicle business. The cooperation contract signed with the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg AG (M.A.N.) provides for the joint development and manufacture of light trucks. In order to unify future sale structures in Europe, the "GmbH für ausländische Vertriebsbeteiligungen M.A.N. - Volkswagen" is founded in Munich on December 20, 1978. It represents the interests of both manufacturers with respect to European importers of M.A.N. and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles products.
Sep September
Oct October
Nov November
Volkswagen seals deal with GDR

Volkswagen seals deal with GDR

01 Nov 1977

Our Story

Volkswagen seals deal with GDR

Volkswagenwerk AG signs a contract with the German Democratic Republic providing for the delivery of 10,000 Golfs.

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Volkswagenwerk AG signs a contract with the German Democratic Republic providing for the delivery of 10,000 Golfs.
Dec December
1977
1978
Jan January
Last Beetle manufactured in Germany

Last Beetle manufactured in Germany

19 Jan 1978

Our Story

Last Beetle manufactured in Germany

The last Volkswagen Beetle to be built in Germany leaves the assembly line in Emden. Type 1 continued to be manufactured in Mexico …

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The last Volkswagen Beetle to be built in Germany leaves the assembly line in Emden. Type 1 continued to be manufactured in Mexico until July 2003.
The last of the Beetles in Germany

The last of the Beetles in Germany

19 Jan 1978

Our Cars

The last of the Beetles in Germany

The last Volkswagen Beetle to be built in Germany leaves the assembly line in Emden. Type 1 continued to be manufactured in Mexico …

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The last Volkswagen Beetle to be built in Germany leaves the assembly line in Emden. Type 1 continued to be manufactured in Mexico until July 2003.
Feb February
Mar March
Apr April
May May
V.A.G Transportgesellschaft mbH founded

V.A.G Transportgesellschaft mbH founded

01 May 1978

Our Story

V.A.G Transportgesellschaft mbH founded

The newly founded "V.A.G Transportgesellschaft mbH", which starts operations on 01 May 1978 assumes responsibility for the purchase…

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The newly founded "V.A.G Transportgesellschaft mbH", which starts operations on 01 May 1978 assumes responsibility for the purchase and sales of services in the national as well as international transportation business and also provides consulting services to third parties. The Wolfsburger Transportgesellschaft mbH is dissolved.
Jun June
Jul July
V.A.G brand name introduced

V.A.G brand name introduced

01 Jul 1978

Our Story

V.A.G brand name introduced

The introduction of the name "V.A.G", the Volkswagen and Audi sales organisation acquires a crossbrand identity. The acronym with i…

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The introduction of the name "V.A.G", the Volkswagen and Audi sales organisation acquires a crossbrand identity. The acronym with its associations to both Volkswagenwerk AG and Audi, has the character of a trademark. Under the umbrella of V.A.G, the service system is standardised and modernised to meet more demanding customer expectations and tougher competition. As before, the sales organisation is based on the franchise system, meaning that retailers do business as independent companies in accordance with the Volkswagen Group's uniform standards. At the end of 1978, the worldwide V.A.G sales organisation has over 211,000 employees in 10,600 firms.
Aug August
Sep September
Volkswagen (GB) HQ moves to Blakelands, Milton Keynes

Volkswagen (GB) HQ moves to Blakelands, Milton Keynes

01 Sep 1978

Our Story

Volkswagen (GB) HQ moves to Blakelands, Milton Keynes

Under the leadership of Michael Heelas and the expansionist new owners, Lonrho, the Company is able to realise a major strategy of …

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Under the leadership of Michael Heelas and the expansionist new owners, Lonrho, the Company is able to realise a major strategy of establishing a centralised parts warehouse, administration offices with good communications which had been planned for some time. A £7.5 million headquarters complex in the new city of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire is completed in September this year. With an additional £2 million invested in 1980 to enlarge the parts warehouse, and a further £1.6 million extension completed in 1984, the complex includes an eight and a half acre warehouse, a training school, a computer complex and administration offices to house the headquarters' staff of 650. From the Blakelands site the company controls sourcing, marketing and distribution of all vehicles and parts for the Volkswagen Group brands.
Oct October
Nov November
Dec December
1978
1979
Jan January
Feb February
Trend-setting Golf Convertible

Trend-setting Golf Convertible

01 Feb 1979

14

Trend-setting Golf Convertible

The coach builder Karmann in Osnabrück starts production of the Golf Convertible. Its sturdy roll bar and well-insulated watertight…

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The coach builder Karmann in Osnabrück starts production of the Golf Convertible. Its sturdy roll bar and well-insulated watertight top sets new standards for safety and comfort.
The Golf Convertible arrives

The Golf Convertible arrives

01 Feb 1979

 0130 Layer 48

The Golf Convertible arrives

The coach builder Karmann in Osnabrück starts production of the Golf Convertible. Its sturdy roll bar and well-insulated watertight…

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The coach builder Karmann in Osnabrück starts production of the Golf Convertible. Its sturdy roll bar and well-insulated watertight top sets new standards for safety and comfort. The customer can choose between two different engines, a 1.5-litre engine with 70 hp or a 1.6-litre GTI engine with 110 hp. The open Golf proves itself to be a worthy successor to the Beetle Convertible and it goes on to become Europe's best-selling convertible.
Mar March
Volkswagen corners Brazilian truck market

Volkswagen corners Brazilian truck market

01 Mar 1979

Our Story

Volkswagen corners Brazilian truck market

In order to broaden its activities in the Brazilian commercial vehicle sector, Volkswagenwerk AG acquires two thirds of the capital…

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In order to broaden its activities in the Brazilian commercial vehicle sector, Volkswagenwerk AG acquires two thirds of the capital of "Chrysler Motors do Brasil Ltda." in São Bernardo do Campo. After acquiring the rest of the shares the subsidiary is renamed "Volkswagen Caminhões Ltda." in February 1981. Meanwhile, the company is reorganised solely as a manufacturer of commercial vehicles and pushes forward with the development of its own truck line. The results of these activities are the 11-ton and 13-ton trucks that are launched in Brazil in March 1981. On July 25, 1984, Volkswagen Caminhões Ltda. is acquired by Volkswagen do Brasil S.A. in order to improve cost structures and the use of capacity.
New IT route for Volkswagen

New IT route for Volkswagen

08 Mar 1979

Our Story

New IT route for Volkswagen

By acquiring a majority interest in the "Triumph Werke Nürnberg AG," Volkswagen enters the office machine and information technolog…

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By acquiring a majority interest in the "Triumph Werke Nürnberg AG," Volkswagen enters the office machine and information technology business. The new subsidiary is renamed "Triumph-Adler Aktiengesellschaft für Büro- und Informationstechnik" in 1980 and Volkswagen increases its capital investment to 98.4%. This diversification measure develops into a loss-making deal and Volkswagen decides to concentrate on its core business. "TA Triumph-Adler AG", as it is now known, as well as "Triumph-Adler North America (TANA)" are sold to "Olivetti Holding B.V." in Amsterdam and leave the Volkswagen Group on 01 September 1986.
Apr April
May May
Volkswagen (GB) headquarters officially opens

Volkswagen (GB) headquarters officially opens

01 May 1979

 0059 Layer 7

Volkswagen (GB) headquarters officially opens

The official opening of the headquarters of Volkswagen (GB) Limited in Milton Keynes takes place in May. The Chairman of Lonrho, Lo…

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The official opening of the headquarters of Volkswagen (GB) Limited in Milton Keynes takes place in May. The Chairman of Lonrho, Lord Duncan Sandys opens the premises and the opening is attended by Toni Schmücker, Chairman of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management in Germany.
Jun June
Jul July
Aug August
Sep September
Jetta in production

Jetta in production

01 Sep 1979

Our Story

Jetta in production

Production of the Jetta begins in Wolfsburg. This variation on the Golf features a large trunk and a notchback body.

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Production of the Jetta begins in Wolfsburg. This variation on the Golf features a large trunk and a notchback body.
Jetta Mk II

Jetta Mk II

01 Sep 1979

Our Cars

Jetta Mk II

The Jetta was a compact saloon with a large boot, designed to slot in between Golf and Passat and offered driving comfort combined …

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The Jetta was a compact saloon with a large boot, designed to slot in between Golf and Passat and offered driving comfort combined with sporty performance. It was available with either a 1.3, 1.5 or 1.6 -litre petrol engine at launch.
Oct October
Nov November
Light truck series produced

Light truck series produced

01 Nov 1979

Our Story

Light truck series produced

The first models of a light truck series developed jointly with M.A.N. go into production, expanding Volkswagen's range in the fiel…

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The first models of a light truck series developed jointly with M.A.N. go into production, expanding Volkswagen's range in the field of commercial vehicles.
Karl Gustaf Ratjen appointed Chairman

Karl Gustaf Ratjen appointed Chairman

16 Nov 1979

Our Story

Karl Gustaf Ratjen appointed Chairman

Karl Gustaf Ratjen becomes Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Supervisory Board.

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Karl Gustaf Ratjen becomes Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Supervisory Board.
Karl Gustaf Ratjen

Karl Gustaf Ratjen

16 Nov 1979

 0060 Layer 6

Karl Gustaf Ratjen

On 16 November 1979 Karl Gustaf Ratjen became Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Supervisory Board.

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On 16 November 1979 Karl Gustaf Ratjen became Chairman of the Volkswagenwerk AG Supervisory Board.
Dec December
1979