Volkswagen's History in Canada

Founded in May 28th, 1937, Volkswagen transitioned through a number of names in its early days, starting with the lengthy "Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH" and after a year replacing it with the much more simple, "Volkswagens mbH".

Headquartered in Wolfsburg, the original Volkswagens were devised with the notion that they would become the staple automobile for the average German at the time. Interestingly, those early models were designed by none other than the famed Ferdinand Porsche.

The political climate of Germany shifted drastically within the first few years of Volkswagen production, eventually proving itself unstable with rising conflicts across Europe. Very quickly, the production of Volkswagen vehicles was significantly reduced and manufacturing efforts were redirected. This is how it would remain until, some years later, and under the guidance of Ivan Hirst, the Volkswagen brand was recommenced with the Type 1.

The Type 1 is likely better remembered as the iconic "Beetle" vehicle.

Volkswagen's History in Canada

Interesting enough, at this same time, those in control of Volkswagen were interested in handing over the production to a more established company with Henry Ford II being one of the parties invited to look over the proposal in West Germany. However, upon inspection, Ernest Breech, the chairman of the board for the Ford Motor Company suggested, "Mr. Ford, I don't think what we're being offered here is worth a dime!" Taking the advice to heart, Ford passed on the offer despite and humorously given the fact the Volkswagen Company at that time was presented "free of charge".

At the same time the Type 1 Beetle was making its presence known.

Canada's first shipment of Volkswagen vehicles came in order 143075 in the summer of 1952. Consisting of 12 vehicles. While the initial market impressions were poor, shifts towards clever marketing concepts saw the Beetle's popularity soar with a youthful driving demographic from 1945 to 1955.

Sales were quick to reach the 1 million mark, continuing this exceptional trend, Volkswagen became a worldwide sensation well into the '60s.

In 1964, Volkswagen AG, was acquired by Auto Union and together they merged with NSU Motorenwerke AG became the Audi Company.

Volkswagen's History in Canada

For the next ten years there were hardships faced by the Volkswagen side of the company, with fewer models selling than anticipated backed by a hungry competition and a higher standard of automotive engineering in domestic markets. That said, with the release of the Volkswagen Golf in 1974, which was marketed as the "Rabbit" in Canada between the years of 1975 to 1985, the company saw some improvement.

There's more to the story, really, with pitfalls and various complications along the way, but as with any automaker and innovator, the process of creating quality vehicles has kept Volkswagen alive for over 80 years. We could point to the years of unstable sales but be quick to point out that thanks to edgy advertisements matching the modern trends that Volkswagen is not likely to vanish anytime soon. This has been solidified through the introduction of various vehicle lines that continue to perform well across the board as well as the re-introduction of a modern heir to the Volkswagen Beetle which proved to be an absolute hit.

Join us today at the Gold Key Auto Group and visit our dedicated Volkswagen dealership to learn more about the brand and what we can do to make your driving experience even better! We look forward to speaking with you soon!

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