The Beetle is Volkswagen’s best-known model and largely credited with bringing road vehicle transport to the masses. It was one of the first cars in the world to go into mainstream manufacture, and it arrived in Australia in 1953. Although the Beetle’s popularity waned somewhat in the late 1980s, it has returned to favour; both the original models and the updated versions are once again enduringly popular.
Alongside the Beetle, the Kombi is also one of the most famous vehicles to have graced our roads. Introduced back in 1950, it has firmly established itself in the intervening decades as a worldwide symbol for fun, fashion, and carefree camping, and it is perhaps Australia’s leading surfing icon. Sadly, the Kombi’s days are numbered, as the last models weave their way off their Brazilian production line in early 2013. However, like the Beetle, we are sure that well-cared-for Kombis will remain in our hearts and on our roads for many more years to come.
Of course, Volkswagen isn’t just known for its classics, though the trio of the Kombi, Beetle, and the quirky 1600 have drawn their fair share of admirers over the years and continue to do so. However, there is much more to VW, and their broad product range and cutting-edge engineering ensure the brand continues to enjoy phenomenal success.
For some two decades, the Polo, Golf, Jetta, and Passat have reigned supreme, ensuring that Volkswagen had a product to suit every segment of the market, from compact car to fleet sedan to family vehicle. Add to these the popular Transporter pickups, Caddys, and Caravelles, and it is clear that VW is doing a pretty good job of wrapping up the commercial market too, from small delivery vans through large-scale people carriers all the way to decent-size goods vans.
Having risen to the top of their game, Volkswagen is doing their bit to ensure they stay there. The quality of the European engineering is second to none, and although some say that Volkswagens still lack the badge appeal of the most sought-after German cars, they are certainly up there in the mix. Ongoing development has seen the Eos come to market – possibly Volkswagen’s most attractive car to date. Its arrival in 2007 heralded a world first when it introduced its combined soft top and sun roof, ensuring that whatever the conditions, it was guaranteed to please. Alongside these innovations we have seen successful variants of some of the best-selling models and, of course, the introduction of the Touareg, Volkswagen’s last word in luxury and styling.
Volkswagen’s competition is vast. Each of its models is jostling for position in an already crowded marketplace at every level, from compact cars to luxury 4x4s and a whole raft of commercial vehicles too. The brand sits comfortably somewhere between the Asian value brands, the European (particularly German) manufacturers, and, of course, the leading US competition from Ford and Holden.
Every model has several others that give it a run for its money, which makes it all the more remarkable perhaps that Volkswagen manages to claim three of the top 10 spots for all-time worldwide vehicle sales. As our quest for value for money increases and our focus remains firmly on protecting our environment, so Volkswagen continues to meet our needs. The year 2012 heralded the arrival of its latest compact car for the people and just like its predecessors, the UP promises to deliver.