Volkswagen is an automaker based in Germany that originated in 1936 but got its real first break in auto sales, post WWII, in late 1940. Volkswagens began to display and sell their automobiles in the US in, 1949 but only a couple units were sold once they officially hit the United States market. They were known as a Victory Wagon. Over the following several years, the VW Beetle was being mass produced and in 1955, and the total number of VW Beetles produced reached a staggering one million. Sales of the automobile had soared primarily due to advertisement for it, made famous by New York advertising agency, Doyle, Dane Bernbach. The advertisements became nearly as famous as the car itself; snappy layouts combined with witty copy. VW’s goal was to entice a younger, classier group of consumers, which ultimately became synonymous with the automobile that made VW a household name. Although today we refer to the automobile as, “the Bug,” it was never officially given that title by the manufacturer.
Jump ahead to the 1960’s and 70’s….the car was becoming outdated but due to a revamped and innovative ad campaign as well as the need for reliability, the production of the Beetle was able to surpass the previous record holder, the Ford Model T and on 1972, the record was broken with the 15,007,034th Beetle being sold. And by 1973, production of the Beetle drove past 16 mill, and Volkswagen has never looked back. It has remained a well-known and respected automaker, designing multiple models of cars over the years and taking them through generation after generation of revisions. Some cars were big hits while others never made the demand list. Some of the most popular models have made a name for themselves are the Passat, the Jetta, Scirocco and of course, the infamous Beetle, or”Bug.”
The emission scandal
On Friday, September 18, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or the (EPA), stated that starting in 2008, the automaker, Volkswagen improperly installed software that was determined to be a “defeat device,” which is in violation of the Clean Air Act, intended to avoid environmental laws of “No emissions by diesel engines 2009-2015 models of VW and Audi cars”.
The engine control unit (ECU) software is set up to detect when the cars are under emission testing and would fully enable the (ECU) emission controls in order to effectively pass the test. Then, during regular driving conditions, the emission control software would shut off in order to achieve greater fuel efficiency plus additional power which resulted in nearly 40x more pollution than our emission laws allowed.
In keeping up with the times and the change in our environmental needs, Volkswagen has gone to great lengths to try to create cars that will meet what consumers now want, eco-friendly cars that are efficient and practical. Volkswagen wants to do its job in preserving our environment, which for Volkswagen, this meant hiring Karl-Thomas Neumann in 2009 as its group Chief officer for electric traction. Then, by 2010, the Chief of research for VW, Dr. Jürgen Leohold announced that they had concluded, “hydrogen fuel-cell” cars are not sustainable. After this realization, it was back to the drawing board and a new idea was born that would lead VW into a whole new platform for auto-making.
As of May 2016, VW has an array of eco-friendly automobiles available for its customers. There are nine plug-in electric cars; three are all-electric cars and six are plug-in hybrids. There are Also two limited production plug-in hybrids that began the manufacturing process in 2013. VW has predicted that the total cumulative sales of all of the VW branded electrified cars since the beginning of their individual production, will reach 103,000 by the end of 2016.
Volkswagen’s 2025 Transform Plan
Amidst the emission scandal, the VW Group has been formulating a plan for the company and its auto production. In order to conform to the progressively strict carbon dioxide emission limits in major auto making markets, VW has decided to expand their “plug-in” range by adding 20 new pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars. This includes two autos that will compete with the all-electric car, Porsche Mission E by Tesla Motors, and Audi’s e-tron Quattro. This car is predicted to become the very first mass produced electric car by Audi. Volkswagen is looking toward the future with a bigger vision. It expects that by 2025, they will sell close to one-million all electric and plug-in hybrid cars, worldwide. According to the VW brand manufacture chief, Thomas Ulbrich, VW has the means to produce as many as 75,000 electric and plugin hybrids each year if there is a demand there.
Plug-in electric Cars
October 2015 is when VW announced that “it will be developing a simulated plan for battery-type electric cars that are known as the MEB.” The uniform system will be designed to use for all body structures and all types of vehicles as well as it will let the VW Group build expressively alluring EVs that give consumers a range of up to 310 miles (500 km).
In June of 2016, this program with VW was officially launched to design and manufacture 30 all-electric automobiles in a span of 10 years, and they plan to sell 3 million EVs per year by 2025. Because there is a less need for manpower in regards to electric motors as opposed to piston engines, this means that VW expects there to be a gradual decrease of their workforce with the business as a demand for electric automobiles increases.
VW’s plans are big, with their plan to expand to marketing their EVs worldwide, in such markets as India, South America and Russia. They plan to increase their emphasis nationally too, and directing focus on key segments in our country, like large SUVs, limousines and sedans. Their focus will be on electrification and connectivity, which means VW will be adopting a new brand core, “e-mobility,” all with a hope that one day, VW will evolve from just a niche supplier, to a significant and lucrative supplier, and that their developments and leadership in this direction will finally put the days of the emission scandal, in the past.