Brands Owned by the Volkswagen Group
At first glance, one might think that every car brand is created by its own, unique company. After all, the brands compete against each other, right? It would be like Coke and Pepsi being owned by the same people, and the great commercial battle we believe we witness (and get emotionally involved in) would just be a grand charade.
Well, in the automotive world, that’s kind of how it is. Fourteen car companies control a combined 54 brands. Although, it’s usually not direct competitors that are mono-controlled, but different brands that specialize in different segments of the market.
Volkswagen is a big player in the automotive world, and thus owns many different brands. What car companies does Volkswagen own?
- Volkswagen Passenger Cars
- Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
The twelve brands ruled by the Volkswagen Group come from seven different European countries. And across the globe, the Volkswagen Group owns a total of 122 production plants. How did this state of affairs come to be?
History of the Volkswagen Group
As is well known, Volkswagen began on the backs of the German National Socialist party in 1937, with the support of Adolf Hitler. But after World War II ended, Major Ivan Hirst of the British Army took control of what remained of the bombed-out VW factory. He restarted production (presumably after providing some repairs) and expected to get to keep the plant as part of war reparations.
Much to the dismay of Major Hirst, however, manufacturers at the time considered the Volkswagen model to be “quite unattractive to the average buyer,” and believed manufacturing it would be a commercial failure. Operations still continued modestly in Germany for a time.
Luckily, popularity (and sales) began to take off rapidly with the production of the Volkswagen Type 1 in the 1950s, then later Type 2, Type 3, Type 4, and Type 181. Things grew further throughout the 1970s, and in 1982 VW signed a co-operation agreement with Spanish brand SEAT as its first step of expansion.
When did Volkswagen start buying other brands?
VW acquired full ownership of SEAT in 1990. It gradually absorbed Skoda throughout the 1990s. In 1998, it acquired Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti. From 2002 to 2007, the Audi group grew out as the sport-emphasizing division of VW. In August 2012, Porsche was fully acquired.
In some of the brands above, such as MAN SE, Volkswagen is not the full owner, but is the controlling shareholder. As Volkswagen success and popularity continues to grow, you can likely expect more brands to fall under the ever-expanding Volkswagen umbrella in the future. And with the company’s nobly intense push towards electric vehicles, we consider this to be a good thing.