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Volkswagen Group
Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft
Type Public company - Aktiengesellschaft (AG)
Founded Germany, (1937)
Headquarters Wolfsburg, Germany
Number of locations 61 production plants in 21 countries[1]
Area served Worldwide
Key people Dr. Ferdinand K. Piëch (Chairman of the Supervisory Board)
Prof. Dr. Rer. Nat. Martin Winterkorn (CEO & Chairman of the Board of Management)
Industry Automotive
Products automobiles, commercial vehicles, engines
Production output 6,346,515 units for sale in 151 countries (2008)[1]
Services Financial services
Revenue 113.8 billion (2008)[1][2]
Operating income €6.61 billion (2008)[1][2]
Profit €4.69 billion (2008)[1][2]
Total assets €167.92 billion (2008)[1]
Employees 369,928 (2008)[1]
Divisions Automotive Division,
Financial Services Division
Subsidiaries Automotive Division[1][3][4]
vehicle brand companies:
Bentley Motors Limited,
Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. (subsidiary of Volkswagen France),
Lamborghini S.p.A. (subsidiary of Audi AG),
Škoda Auto,
Volkswagen Passenger Cars,
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles,
Scania AB (publ)
Financial Services Division
Volkswagen Financial Services AG,
Volkswagen Leasing GmbH
Volkswagen Group Fleet International,
Volkswagen Group Supply,
Volkswagen Air Service
Volkswagen Marine
Volkswagen Industrial Motor
Volkswagen Group China,
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.,
Volkswagen Group Australia,
Volkswagen do Brasil,
Volkswagen Group Ireland,
Volkswagen Group Italia S.p.A.,
Volkswagen of South Africa (Pty) Ltd,
Volkswagen Group United Kingdom Ltd.

Volkswagen Group (sometimes abbreviated to VW Group[5] and previously known as VAG[6]) is a German automobile manufacturing group; and according to figures published by automotive industry analysts Global Insight in November 2009, is the largest automobile maker in the world by vehicle production.[7] Its parent company Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft,[1] (FWBVOW3) sometimes referred to as VW AG[8] or VWAG,[9][10] develops vehicles and components for all marques of the whole Group, and also manufactures complete vehicles for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles marques.[1] Volkswagen Group is divided into two primary divisions: the Automotive Division, and the Financial Services Division.[1] The Group consists of 342 Group companies, which are involved in either vehicle production or other related automotive services.[1]

Although it operates worldwide, Volkswagen Group's core market is primarily Europe. Of its automobile brands, Volkswagen Passenger Cars is its mainstream marque, and the Group's major subsidiaries also include well-known car marques like SEAT, Škoda, and the prestige marques of Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Bugatti. The Group also has operations in commercial vehicles, owning Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, along with a controlling stake in Swedish truck and diesel engine maker Scania AB, and a 29.9% stake in MAN SE.

Volkswagen's second-largest market is China, where its subsidiary, Volkswagen Group China (VGC), is by far the largest joint venture automaker, selling more than one million vehicles in 2008.[1]

The Volkswagen Golf is the third bestselling automobile in the world, selling over 26 million units through 2008.[1] In 2009, Volkswagen sold 6.29 million vehicles, claiming over 11% of the world passenger car market.[citation needed]

Volkswagen AG sponsors some sports such as 2008 Summer Olympics, football clubs Vfl Wolfsburg, David Beckham Academy, and others.[citation needed]

In August 2009, Porsche SE and Volkswagen Group reached an agreement that Volkswagen AG and Porsche AG would merge in 2011.[11][12]



Volkswagen was founded on 28 May 1937 as the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH [13] ("Society for the preparation of the German People's Car", sometimes abbreviated to Gezuvor[14]) by the Nazi Deutsche Arbeitsfront [15] (German Labour Front). The purpose of the company was to manufacture the Volkswagen Type 1, later better known as the Volkswagen Beetle.[13] On 16 September 1938, the company was renamed Volkswagenwerk GmbH [13] ("Volkswagen Factory limited liability company").

After the Second World War in June 1945, Major Ivan Hirst[13] of the British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) took control of the bomb-shattered factory, and tried to dismantle it and ship it home. However, no British car manufacturer was interested; "the vehicle does not meet the fundamental technical requirement of a motor-car ... it is quite unattractive to the average buyer ... To build the car commercially would be a completely uneconomic enterprise".[16] As part of the Industrial plans for Germany, large parts of German industry, including Volkswagen, were to be dismantled. Total German car production was set at a maximum of 10% of the 1936 car production numbers.[17] The company survived by producing cars for the British Army, and in 1948, the British Government handed the company back over to the German state, where it was managed by former-Opel chief Heinrich Nordhoff.

Volkswagen's Golf is the third best-selling car in the world, selling over 26 million through 2008

In 1960, upon the floatation of part of the German federal government's stake in the company on the German stock market, its name became Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft (usually abbreviated to Volkswagenwerk AG).

On 1 January 1965, Volkswagenwerk acquired Auto Union GmbH from its parent company Daimler-Benz. The new subsidiary went on to produce the first post-war Audi models, the Audi F103 series, shortly afterwards.[18]

Another German manufacturer, NSU Motorenwerke AG, was merged into Auto Union on 26 August 1969, creating a new company, Audi NSU Auto Union AG (later renamed AUDI AG in 1985).[18]

From the late 1970s to 1992, the acronym V.A.G was used by Volkswagen AG for group-wide activities, such as distribution and leasing.[6] Whilst there was no official meaning given for the V.A.G acronym, it was ascribed different meanings in different locations - in Germany Volkswagen Audi Gesellschaft was assumed, whilst in the United Kingdom, Volkswagen Audi Group was used on official communications.[citation needed]

On 4 July 1985, the company name was changed again - to Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (usually abbreviated to Volkswagen AG), to reflect the company's increasing global diversification from its headquarters and main plant, the Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg. In 1986, Volkswagen acquired a controlling stake in the Spanish car manufacturer SEAT, S.A. and in 1991, Škoda automobilová a.s. of Czechoslovakia became a wholly-owned subsidiary.[18]

Three prestige automotive marques were added to the Volkswagen portfolio in 1998: Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti.[18]

Volkswagen AG ownership

Under the so-called "Volkswagen Law", no shareholder in Volkswagen AG could exercise more than 20 percent of the firm's voting rights, regardless of their level of stock holding.[19] In October 2005, Porsche acquired an 18.53 percent stake in the business, and in July 2006, Porsche increased that ownership to more than 25 percent. Analysts disagreed as to whether the investment was a good fit for Porsche's strategy.[20]

On 26 March 2007, after the European Union moved against a German law that protected Volkswagen Group from takeovers,[21] Porsche took its holding to 30.9 percent, triggering a takeover bid under German law. Porsche formally announced in a press statement that it did not intend to take over Volkswagen Group, setting its offer price at the lowest possible legal value, but intended the move to avoid a competitor taking a large stake, or to stop hedge funds dismantling Volkswagen Group, which is Porsche's most important partner.[22] On 3 March 2008, Porsche announced that it has decided to increase its Volkswagen AG stake up to 51 percent, which would be completed before the end of the year. This was announced just hours after VWAG declared it would take a majority stake in the Swedish truck and engine maker Scania.[23]

On 16 September 2008, Porsche announced that the company had increased its stake in Volkswagen AG to 35 percent.[24] As of October 2008, Porsche held 42.6 percent of Volkswagen AG's ordinary shares, and holds stock options on another 31.5 percent.[citation needed] On 28 October 2008, Porsche announced that they effectively held over 74 percent; 42.6 percent actual shares, and the rest as convertible options. It was announced on 7 January 2009 that Porsche now owns 50.76 percent of Volkswagen AG.[25] Volkswagen AG briefly became the world's most valuable company, as the stock price rose to over €1,000 per share as short sellers tried to cover their positions.[26]

The current share ownership of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft is distributed as follows:[27]

In percent of subscribed capital, based on 2008 Annual Report:[27]
percentage shareholder name notes
37.4% Porsche Automobil Holding SE (based on notification of Porsche Automobil Holding SE on 5 January 2009)
24.2% Private shareholders / others
17.7% Foreign institutional investors
14.7% State of Lower Saxony[21]
5.9% German institutional investors
In percent of current voting rights as of 18 December 2009 (2009 -12-18):[27]
percentage shareholder name notes
50.74% Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Stuttgart
2.37% Porsche GmbH, Salzburg
20.01% State of Lower Saxony, Hanover[21]
17.00% Qatar Holding
9.87% Others

These figures are likely to change dramatically, as Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft has agreed the issue of new shares to facilitate the merger with Porsche.[28]


Share information

Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft shares are primarily traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange,[29] and are listed under the 'VOW' and 'VOW3' stock ticker symbols. First listed in August 1961, the shares were issued at a price of DM 350 per DM 100 share,[29] Volkswagen AG shares are now separated into two different types or classes: 'ordinary shares' and 'preference shares'.[29] The ordinary shares are now traded under the WKN 766400 and ISIN: DE0007664005 listings, and the preference shares under the WKN 766403 and ISIN: DE0007664039 listings.[29]

Volkswagen AG shares are also listed and traded on other major domestic and worldwide stock exchanges. In Germany's domestic exchanges, since 1961 these include those in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich and Stuttgart. International exchanges include those in Basel (listed in 1967), Geneva (1967), Zürich (1967), Luxembourg (1979), London (1988), and New York (1988).[29]

Since the start of trading in 1961, Volkswagen AG shares have been subjected to two stock splits - the first was on 17 March 1969 when they were split at a ratio of 2:1, from a DM 100 share to a DM 50 share. The second split occurred on 6 July 1998, the DM 50 share being converted into a share of no overall nominal value, at a ratio of 1:10.[29]

From 23 December 2009, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft preferred shares will replace their ordinary shares on the DAX.[30]


Volkswagen (mbH, GmbH, AG) leaders
from to person(s)
1937 1945 Dr. Bodo Lafferentz, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ferdinand Porsche, Jakob Werlin[31]
June 1945 January 1948 Major Ivan Hirst (REME)[13]
2 January 1948 1967 Heinrich Nordhoff
1968 1971 Dr. Kurt Lotz
1971 1975 Dr.-Ing. h.c. Rudolf Leiding
1975 1982 Toni Schmücker
1982 1993 Dr. Carl Hahn
1 January 1993 16 April 2002 Dr.-Ing. h.c. Ferdinand K. Piëch
16 April 2002 31 December 2006 Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder
1 January 2007 present Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Martin Winterkorn

Corporate structure, brands and companies

The Volkswagen Group comprises nine active automotive companies, and their corresponding marques:

Germany AUDI AG, the Audi Group, and the Audi marque
99.55% ownership; the Audi marque is the sole active marque of the former Auto Union, bought from Daimler-Benz on 30 December 1964.
Audi AG wholly own the private high performance subsidiary company, quattro GmbH.
Italy Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.,[3] and the Lamborghini marque
100% ownership by Audi AG; company was bought in June 1998.
United Kingdom Bentley Motors Limited,[3] and the Bentley marque
100% ownership by Volkswagen AG; the company (at the time known as Rolls-Royce & Bentley Motors Ltd.) was bought on 28 July 1998 from Vickers, but did not include the 'Rolls-Royce' brand name. The Rolls-Royce marque was subsequently restarted by BMW who had licensed the brand from Rolls-Royce plc.
France Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., and the Bugatti marque
100% ownership via the Volkswagen France subsidiary, Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. was created after Volkswagen Group purchased the right to the Bugatti marque.[32]
Spain SEAT, S.A.,[3] and the SEAT marque
initially in 1982 a co-operation agreement with Audi AG; 51% & 75% (1986), 100% ownership by the Volkswagen Group since 1990, and was the first non-German subsidiary of the Group.
Czech Republic Škoda automobilová a.s.,[3] Škoda Auto, and the Škoda marque
100% ownership since 1999.
Germany Volkswagen Passenger Cars, and the Volkswagen marque
the founding marque of the company, 100% ownership.
Germany Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV), or German: Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge (VWN)
100% ownership; started operations as an independent entity in 1995. VWCV/VWN is in charge of all commercial vehicle developments within the Group, and has control over Scania AB and is a major shareholder in MAN SE.
Sweden Scania AB (publ),[3] and the Scania marque (controlling shareholder)
Acquired July 2008 becoming the 9th marque of the Group,[1] 70.94% of voting rights as of 30 November 2009 (2009 -11-30).[33]

Note: From July 1998 until December 2002, the Group's Bentley division also sold cars under the Rolls-Royce marque, under an agreement with BMW, which had bought the rights to the Rolls-Royce name, but not the Rolls-Royce operations. From 2003, only BMW has been able to make cars under the Rolls-Royce marque.

The Group also owns five inactive marques, via Audi AG:

  • Germany Auto Union (the Auto Union company, together with NSU Motorenwerke AG (NSU), were merged into "Audi NSU Auto-Union AG" in 1969. The name was shortened to "Audi AG" in 1985, and the interlocked four-ring badge from Auto Union is still used by Audi AG).
  • Germany NSU Motorenwerke AG (NSU) - bought in 1969 by Volkswagen AG, and merged into Audi AG; the NSU brand has not been used since 1977. However, the current Audi AG shares trade under the ticker symbol "NSU".

These heritage marques are retained and managed through the companies Auto Union GmbH and NSU GmbH, both of which are 100% owned by Audi AG.

Recent acquisitions

Wilhelm Karmann GmbH

Volkswagen Group revealed on 24 October 2009 that it had made an offer to acquire long-time partner and German niche automotive manufacturer Wilhelm Karmann GmbH out of bankruptcy protection.[34] In November 2009, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG approved the acquisition of assets of Karmann, and plan to restart vehicle production at their Osnabrück plant in 2012.[35]

Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG

In December 2009, Volkswagen AG bought a 49.9% stake in Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG (more commonly known as Porsche AG) in a first step towards an 'integrated automotive group' with Porsche. This was agreed between Volkswagen AG and Porsche SE during negotiations on the contracts of implementation relating to the merger of the two companies.[11][12] The merger of Volkswagen AG and Porsche SE is scheduled to take place during the course of 2011.[36]

Suzuki Motor Corporation

Volkswagen AG completed the purchase 19.9% of Suzuki Motor Corporation's issued shares on 15 January 2010.[37] Suzuki intends to invest up to one half of the amount received from Volkswagen into shares of Volkswagen.[38]

Commercial vehicle interests

Volkswagen AG is the controlling shareholder in the Swedish commercial vehicle and diesel engine maker Scania AB,[3] with a capital stake of 37.73%, and 68.60% of the voting rights. Volkswagen AG originally acquired a stake in Scania after Volvo's aborted takeover attempt in 2000, and then increased that to a capital stake of 16.5% and a voting stake of 33.4% in 2007. On 3 March 2008, Volkswagen announced that it would acquire all the shares in Scania AB held by Investor AB and the Wallenberg Foundation. Once cleared by the relevant authorities, Scania became the ninth marque in the Volkswagen Group.

On 4 October 2006, Volkswagen acquired a 15.1% stake in German commercial vehicle maker MAN AG,[3] and later increased to 29.9%. In 2007, MAN AG launched a hostile offer to acquire Scania AB, but this was subsequently withdrawn.

Former Volkswagen Group CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder, and his successor Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, have considered a three-way merger between MAN, Scania, Volkswagen AG's own Brazilian heavy truck division, and possibly their light truck and van division as well. Due to the size of Volkswagen AG's stakes in MAN and Scania, it is expected that Volkswagen AG would own a majority stake in such a merged entity.

Scania AB

The Wallenberg family began divesting its interests in various Swedish companies, but as a result of Volvo's aborted takeover of Scania AB (publ), it agreed to hold a "significant share holding" in only one of Sweden's heavy truck manufacturers. This resulted in Volkswagen AG securing an 18% capital stake and 34% voting stake in Scania AB. On the 3 March 2008, it was announced that the Wallenberg's would sell their remaining stake in Scania AB to Volkswagen AG.[39] The purchase of the stake increased Volkswagen AG's total votes in Scania to 68.60% (previously 37.98%) which corresponds to 37.73% of the capital (previously 20.89%).[39] As of 30 November 2009 (2009 -11-30), Volkswagen AG holds 70.94% voting rights and 45.66% overall capital of Scania AB.[33]


Volkswagen AG has a 29.9% stake in German truck manufacturer MAN SE (formerly MAN AG). In 2006, MAN AG launched a takeover bid for the Swedish truck maker Scania, in which Volkswagen AG held, at the time, 20.3% of company and 35.31% of the voting stock. Volkswagen AG had previously announced that it would like to see MAN and Scania merge, together along with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Truck and Bus operations, and form a new company in which Volkswagen AG has a blocking minority stake. However later press released stated that such a merger was not a priority, and Scania would continue to be run as a separate entity. A merged MAN-Scania would become the largest European truck maker, leapfrogging both Volvo AB and Daimler AG. However, Daimler will still be the largest worldwide truck maker, as it has operations in the U.S., where MAN and Scania currently do not.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft - 2008 Annual Report" (PDF). Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Volkswagen Group - Investor Relations - Fiscal Year 2008 AdHoc" (PDF). Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Volkswagen AG - Other Companies". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 
  4. ^ Volkswagen AG - List of Holdings (as of 31 Dec 2007)PDF
  5. ^ Pötsch, Hans Dieter; Detlef Wittig (2009-07-30). "Presentation on the Half-Yearly Financial Report 2009". Volkswagen AG. p. 6. Retrieved 28 December 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Schmitt, Bertel (2009-05-16). "VW/Porsche: Auto Union? What the NSFW?". Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "VW (Group) becomes largest car maker". Haymarket Media Group. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "Debt Investor Presentation - Commerzbank". Volkswagen AG. 2005-09-20. p. 2. Retrieved 28 December 2009. 
  9. ^ "Case details for Community Trade Mark E1064997 - VWAG". United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office. Reviewed 8 September 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2009. 
  10. ^ "Trademark Useage Guide". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  11. ^ a b Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (13 August 2009). "Volkswagen Supervisory Board approves Comprehensive Agreement for an Integrated Automotive Group with Porsche". Press release. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  12. ^ a b Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Stuttgart (20 November 2009). "Porsche Supervisory Board agrees on the contracts of implementation". Press release. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c d e "Volkswagen International: Company: History". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  14. ^ "Seventy-Five Years Ago: Porsche Receives the Order to Construct the Volkswagen". Porsche AG. 2009-06-16. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Sloniger, Jerry (1980). The VW Story. Patrick Stephens. ISBN 0850594413. 
  16. ^ The Guardian - Obituaries - Ivan Hirst
  17. ^ Harry S. Truman - Library & Museum - Draft, The President's Economic Mission to Germany and Austria, Report 3, March, 1947; OF 950B: Economic Mission as to Food…; Truman Papers.
  18. ^ a b c d Manfred Grieger, Ulrike Gutzmann, Dirk Schlinkert, ed (2008). Volkswagen Chronicle. Historical Notes. 7. Volkswagen AG. ISBN 978-3-935112-11-6. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  19. ^ "Top EU court finds against VW law". BBC News (BBC). 13 February 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  20. ^ "Porsche cites need for changes at Volkswagen". International Herald Tribune / The New York Times Company. 7 November 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  21. ^ a b c "VW Law is a write-off". Management Today. 23 October 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2009. "State of Lower Saxony, VW's second biggest shareholder, whose premier Christian Wulff sits on the board" 
  22. ^ "Porsche triggers a VW takeover bid". BBC News (BBC). 26 March 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  23. ^ "Porsche to head €150bn empire". Financial Times / The Financial Times Ltd. 4 March 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ "Porsche holds over half of Volkswagen". 4Car / Channel Four Television Corporation. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  26. ^ "Hedge funds make £18bn loss on Volkswagen". BBC News (BBC). 29 October 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  27. ^ a b c "Volkswagen Group - Shareholder Structure". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  28. ^ "Volkswagen shareholders authorize issue of new preferred shares". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f "Volkswagen Group - Share Fact Sheet". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  30. ^ "Volkswagen preferred shares replace ordinary shares in DAX". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2009. 
  31. ^ Chronik/Rückblick mit scheinbaren Analogien und ohne Anspruch auf Vollständigkeit. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  32. ^ Bugatti - A Legendary Brand Is Reborn
  33. ^ a b "Scania Group - Ownership". Scania AB (publ). Retrieved 27 December 2009. 
  34. ^ "Volkswagen May Take Over Carmaker Karmann, Spiegel Reports", Bloomberg, 24 October 2009.
  35. ^ "Volkswagen Supervisory Board lays foundation for car manufacture at Karmann site in Osnabrück". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 2009-11-20. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  36. ^ "Volkswagen takes 49.9 percent stake in Porsche AG". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 7 December 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  37. ^ "Volkswagen completes Suzuki tieup". Japan Times. 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  38. ^ "Volkswagen and Suzuki agreed to establish a comprehensive partnership". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  39. ^ a b "Volkswagen acquires entire Investor and Wallenberg Foundations stake in Scania". Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. 3 March 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2009. 

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