Volkswagen Magazine

1925

THE INVENTION OF THE CRUMPLE ZONE

When Béla Barényi dreamt up the first Beetle concept at the age of 18, he also gave thought to a crumple zone for the first time. This refers to those areas in a car that deform in a collision and absorb energy. At the time it was a legendary concept that contradicted the prevailing opinion that a car body needs to be as rigid as a suit of armour. Today, the crumple zone can be found in almost every car and saves lives on a daily basis.

1938

FIRST BOXER ENGINE IN THE BEETLE

The first car to use the boxer engine was the Beetle – an experiment that initially caused too much soot and noise. Nonetheless, Volkswagen thereby paved the way for more powerful drives. The advantage of the boxer engine – over the in-line engine – comes in the form of the 180-degree opposed, slightly offset cylinders, which better compensate for inertial forces and provide more power.

1950

THE BIRTH OF MODERN CUSTOMER SERVICE

The combination of mass production and the establishment of an overarching network of conscientious customer care was the trump card for Volkswagen on the international market. The company management sensed that the Beetle would be all the more successful with a functioning service and sales network. It wasn’t long before there was a dense network of spare parts, special tools, and carefully trained staff. The Beetle thus became an international smash hit.

1960

THE “THINK SMALL” REVOLUTION

The series of “Lemon” advertisements gave the Beetle unexpected sales success in the USA and is today regarded as iconic. With “Lemon”, the small New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) began its rise to becoming one of the world's leading creative agencies.

1967

THE CAMPERVAN FOR HIPPIES

It goes without saying that the T1 was already a cult. But when its successor rolled off the production line in Hanover in 1967, it soon became clear that THE automobile of the hippie generation had just been born. The T2 offered even more comfort and provided large families, friends, or travelling groups with plenty of room. The campervan thus became the darling of the long-haired flower children, who not only drove for ecological reasons to the beach or festivals in their colourful clothes together, but also because it was cheaper and much more fun. And of course these were the days when songs from the Doors, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin were heard blaring out of the windows. During this period an unusually large number of T1s and T2s were also cheerfully painted in the colours of the flower power generation.

1973

A QUANTUM LEAP IN FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

Volkswagen developed standardized teaching models for training centres and workshops established in Wolfsburg, Brazil, and Mexico. New entrants through to managers could thus be offered further training schemes, which were role models for human resource management in major companies around the globe. This strategy is still enabling Volkswagen to secure top-rate employees and the highest product quality today.

1974

THE TRIUMPH OF EDGES AND CORNERS

It was the first successor to the Beetle and its shape deemed revolutionary for the time. Its creator, Giorgio Giugiaro, designed an incredibly angular car that is uniform and mainstream to this day. The Golf appeals to the tastes of many different people – from managers to hippies.

1978

THE BIRTH OF THE CRASH TEST DUMMIES

An increase in the volume of traffic saw vehicle safety aspects come to the fore in the 70s. Volkswagen design engineers started using dummies in crash tests to simulate the effects of accidents on the human body for the very first time. They were thus able to reach vital conclusions in the optimisation of automotive safety systems.

1980

ARVW SETS THE SPEED RECORD

In southern Italy in 1980, Volkswagen set a world record for the fastest speed ever measured with its ARVW test car. Thanks to its streamlined body and 175 hp engine, it reached a speed of more than 300 km/h – all of 35 years ago. The ARVW (Aerodynamic Research Volkswagen) therefore showed very early on what was possible with the diesel technology and known aerodynamic findings available at that time. The ARVW meets the other aspired goal of driving as far as possible with as little fuel as possible. One model can be seen in the Volkswagen Museum today, and another is located in the automobile museum in Riga.

1981

INVENTION OF THE FIRST ECO FORMULA

In the 1980s, Formula E stood for eco technology, which made the Golf, Polo, Jetta, and Santana real money savers. Formula E encompassed a series of fuel-saving measures. Volkswagens with Formula E possessed high-compression engines, a long gear, and aerodynamic improvements due to additional spoiler areas at the front and rear, among other things.

1997

FIRST ANTI-SKID SYSTEM FOR THE COMPACT CLASS

Volkswagen established the anti-skid system in a compact class (the Golf) for the first time. This refers to the all-wheel-standard Electronic Stability Program ESP, whose computer system intervenes in the braking to prevent under or over steering of the car in extreme situations. After the seat belt and airbag, this anti-skid system is considered to be a vehicle’s most important safety system.

2002

THE MOST ECONOMICAL CAR IN THE WORLD

At the beginning of the “noughties”, Volkswagen introduced the 1-litre car as the most economical car in the world. On the Wolfsburg-Hamburg route, the 120 km/h prototype exhibited a sensationally low average consumption of 0.89 litres diesel per 100 kilometres. Just 1.25 metres wide and just over a metre in height, the unpainted technology flagship is made completely of carbon fibre composites. It offers plenty of room for two people and has a 6.5-litre tank.

2012

ONE PLATFORM FOR ALL

The Golf VII is the first Volkswagen to be based on the MQB platform. This modular transverse matrix increases the variability in different types of drives. Future Volkswagen cars thereby have more interior room, improved safety, a lower weight, and more fuel-efficient engines. Alternative drives (natural gas, hybrid, or electric drives) can also be installed in an identical mounting position in the MQB.

2014

VOLKSWAGENS ARE BECOMING DRIVING COMPUTERS

Wi-fi, 3G internet, Bluetooth, 12-inch display, NVIDIA processor – since 2014, the new generation from Volkswagen has been going full throttle with regard to connectivity. Tablets or smartphones can now network with the Polo, Passat, or Golf. This means drivers and passengers can conveniently connect to various infotainment systems. As of late, you can now use in-car audio streaming services, listen to your favourite songs, or retrieve your private phone list. Navigation information is displayed in real-time, so you always have the best guidance in unfamiliar surroundings and are kept informed about traffic jams, the cheapest petrol stations, and free parking spaces at the same time.