The motor car is an icon of the 20th Century, and few car manufacturers have produced so many legendary cars as Volkswagen. The Beetle - the best-selling car of all time; the Volkswagen bus - symbol of a generation; and the Golf - a modern masterpiece, are automobiles that have become an indelible part of the cultural and personal lives of millions.

In an era of privilege for the few, the Volkswagen was conceived as an affordable and reliable means of transport for the many. Ferdinand Porsche created the concept of the first peoples' car for Europe in 1934 and a working protoype was launched in just a year.

By the end of 1942, 70,000 Volkswagen's were produced and in 1945, in a swift recovery following the war, Volkswagen produced almost 2,000 vehicles for Allied Forces and the new German Post Office. By 1948, 25,000 Volkswagens had rolled off the production lines in Wolfsburg and the first two Beetles shipped to the USA. By 1949, another 25,000 Volkswagens were built, and the Volkswagen Karmann convertible became the best-selling convertible in the world.

By 1955, a million Volkswagens were made and the company had grown into a world corporation, building factories and working communities in the United States, Brazil and Canada and in major centres in Western Europe.

Less than two decades later the concept that had begun as a car for the many proved so appealing to so many that the Beetle became the best-selling car of all time, overtaking Ford's famous Model T.

And in the last fifteen years of the millennium Volkswagen have emerged as a true global force in automobiles, with the acquisition and re-development of famous names such as Audi, SEAT, Skoda, and Lamborghini.

Would you expect less from Volkswagen?

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