Volkswagen is a German automaker founded in 1937 by the German Labour Front, known for the iconic Beetle and headquartered in Wolfsburg. It is the flagship brand of the Volkswagen Group, the largest automaker by worldwide sales in 2016 and 2017. The group's biggest market is in China, which delivers 40% of its sales and profits.
The German term Volk translates to "people", thus Volkswagen translates to "people's car". The company's current international advertising slogan is just "Volkswagen", referencing the name's meaning.
Volkswagen is the founding and namesake member of the Volkswagen Group, a large international corporation in charge of multiple car and truck brands, including Audi, SEAT, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, Scania, MAN, and Škoda. Volkswagen Group's global headquarters are located in Volkswagen's historic home of Wolfsburg, Germany.
Volkswagen Group, as a unit, is Europe's largest automaker, with over 74000 employees and over 7700 dealerships. For a long time, Volkswagen has had a market share over 20 percent.
In 2010, Volkswagen posted record sales of 6.29 million vehicles, with its global market share at 11.4%. In 2008, Volkswagen became the third-largest automaker in the world, and, as of 2016, Volkswagen was the second largest manufacturer worldwide. With strong headwinds reported in 2018, predominantly from trade tariffs and new emission standards, Volkswagen Group ended 2018 with record deliveries of 10.8 million vehicles. Volkswagen Group's core markets include Germany and China.
In July 2019, Volkswagen invested $2.6 billion in Argo AI, a startup focused on developing self-driving vehicles.
2017–present: Focus on electric vehicles
In 2017, Volkswagen announced plans to place a considerable focus on electric vehicles (EV), with a goal to, by 2025, launch at least 30 EV models, and have 20 to 25 percent of their total yearly sales volume (2-3 million) consist of EVs. In September, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller stated that the company aimed to have electric versions of all of its vehicle models by 2030, at a cost of 20 billion euro, and 50 billion euro on acquisition of batteries.
Volkswagen returned to motorsport in 2018 by unveiling its all-electric I.D. R. At the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Romain Dumas set an all-time course record of just under eight minutes driving the I.D. R.
In September 2018, Volkswagen announced that it would discontinue production of the Beetle (A5) in 2019. Also in September 2018, Volkswagen announced its $100 million investment in Silicon Valley-based solid-state battery startup QuantumScape, becoming the startup's largest automotive investor and gaining representation on its board.
In February 2019, Volkswagen announced that it would launch an entry-level Jetta sub-brand in China aimed at young buyers. Three models were announced in July 2019, a sedan and two SUVs, all three of which will be manufactured in China as a part of Volkswagen's joint-venture with FAW.
In September 2019 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen officially unveiled a refreshed logo (a thinner, two-dimensional version of the previous logo) and new sonic branding, which will accompany the newly launched ID.3 electric vehicle. Volkswagen stated that the ID.3 signified the start of a "new era" of the company.
In September 2019, Volkswagen also announced a program to allow old Beetle models to be converted to run on electric power. The electric motor and battery updates will be done in partnership with German company eClassics. The electric components used for retrofitting will be based upon those found in the e-up! model.
In November 2020, Volkswagen announced that, trying to remain the world's largest carmaker in the green era, it has increased its investment in electric and self-driving cars to $86 billion over the next five years.