Volkswagen is known all over the world. This is indeed the largest group of companies involved in the production of cars. The parent company (or, as they say, the parent company) is located in Wolfsburg and is called, as everyone knows, Volkswagen AG. Well, this concern has a very rich and long history and a lot of interesting facts. So it is worth talking about it in more detail.
Porsche and Volkswagen
So, the headquarters of this concern is located in Germany, in Wolfsburg. The company was named "Volkswagen", which means "people's car" in German. To date, about half of the shares are owned by such a holding as Porsche SE. Nevertheless, the Volkswagen concern owns all one hundred percent of the ordinary shares of the intermediate holding, which is called Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH. In general, in fact, "Porsche" is the car that produces "Volkswagen". Today, management companies are negotiating to combine the firms into a single structure, which could be called VW-Porsche. It is also interesting that Martin Winterkorn (a fairly well-known personality in the automotive world) until September 2015 served as chairman of the board of both Volkswagen and Porsche.
But that's not all. Today, the Volkswagen Group consists of 342 companies that produce cars and provide services related to this area. It is the largest car manufacturer in the world. And of course, the undisputed leader of the European car market. 25% of cars that drive on the roads of the continent are made by Volkswagen.
About the story
Volkswagen started its history in 1937. The founder of the company is Ferinand Porsche. It was he who created the so-called Society for the preparation of Volkswagen mbH. And in 1938, they began to build the first Volkswagen plant. Of course, it was in Wolfsburg. In addition to the automotive industry, the plant was engaged in another type of activity. The Volkswagen AG concern then provided logistics and financial services. And besides that, he had a small food business.
In the 90s, the company began to experience major difficulties. There were some serious financial problems. But thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of Ferdinand Piech, the crisis manager, everything worked out. In fact, this man saved Volkswagen. The concern switched to a 4-day working week, began to follow an offensive policy and began to develop at an even faster pace. In the end, the company managed to acquire just a huge number of popular brands.
Rolls-Royce and Suzuki
From 1998 to 2002, the Volkswagen concern was engaged in the production of cars such as Rolls-Royce. All people know about these luxurious models, even those who are not familiar withautoworld. This topic is quite interesting. A division of the Volkswagen Bentley group was engaged in the production of these cars under an agreement with another company, BMW. Why? But because the Munich company bought the rights to this brand from such a concern as Vickers. And since 2003, only BMW has the right to manufacture and produce cars with the eminent Rolls-Royce emblem.
In 2009, the Volkswagen Group took a step further - it entered into an alliance with a company such as Suzuki. The firms exchanged blocks of shares (German manufacturers got 20% of Suzuki's shares) and announced the joint development of so-called ecological machines. But in 2011, the alliance broke up, which was announced to the world.
In September of the current year, 2015, a worldwide scandal broke out around Volkswagen. The concern was accused of the fact that the program that the developers used in the on-board computers they produce determined one important moment. Namely, in what mode the machine works - in normal or in test mode. This program was started in cars with diesel power units. Including VW Jetta, Audi A3, Golf, Passat, Beetle. When testing began, the car automatically switched to an environmentally friendly mode of operation. A very smart and thoughtful system, I must say. However, this turned out to be a huge disaster for the concern and financial costs.
The Environmental Protection Agency said that for absolutely every car that does not complyUS standards, the company will have to pay a fine of $37.5 thousand. It turns out a fabulous amount. After all, since 2008 the concern has sold 482,000 cars. And the total amount of fines can reach 18 billion! To date, half a million of its vehicles have been recalled from the United States. This is also a loss. The chairman of the company, Martin Winterkorn, apologized publicly after the incident and said that he would definitely support the investigation. By the way, the German Ministry of Transport deals with it. After that, Martin retired after more than a dozen years at Volkswagen.
Acquired companies before 2000
So, it is worth telling in more detail about what is included in the Volkswagen concern. Naturally, the main part of it is the Volkswagen company, which produces cars. The company is not formalized as a “daughter” of the parent concern, but is a division directly reporting to the management of VW AG.
In 1964, the company "Audi" was attached to this structure. It was purchased from Daimler-Benz. Next after Audi was a company such as NSU Motorenwerke. She was bought in 1969. This brand has not been used as an independent brand for a long time - since 1977. And before that, the company produced motorcycles and cars.
In 1986, the Germans took over the Spanish brand Seat, which has existed since 1950. Volkswagen owns 99.99% of the company's shares. The most interesting models began to appear after Seat joined the German structure. For example, SEAT Bocanegra with180 hp engine designed by Lamborghini.
In 1991, the company acquired the Czech Škoda, and then returned to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. This company was once part of VW AG, but in 1995 it became an independent brand. Or rather, a division. Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini - these brands are known today all over the world. And these are concerns owned by Volkswagen since 1998. That year was a shock year for the company. After all, these cars are considered one of the most popular, well-known and actively bought by people.
Acquired firms since 2000
Volkswagen Group continued to acquire shares further. In 2009, he bought almost 71% of Scania AB. This production is engaged in the development and production of dump trucks, buses, trucks, truck tractors and diesel engines. Another company, MAN AG, bought in 2011, produces all of the above, as well as hybrid powertrains in addition. VW AG has a 55.9% stake in the firm.
Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A and ItalDesign Giugiaro are two other manufacturers bought by Volkswagen. The first of these companies is one of the leading manufacturers of premium motorcycles. And the second is a studio engaged in the design of cars. Interestingly, 90% of the shares of this company in 2010 were bought by the Lamborghini holding. So Volkswagen was already the owner of the studio, but after the paperwork was completed, it also became the official owner.
And one moreinteresting information. VW AG acquired the Russian trademark Aleko in 2013 (it was under this TM that the well-known cheap Moskvich vehicles were sold for some time). The right to use this brand and any emblems belongs to the German concern until 2021.
In 1991, in March, in order to optimize the organizational structure, the German concern decided to form an internal division that would deal with financial matters. It was named Volkswagen Finanz. In 1994 it became a closed joint stock company. This banking and financial structure gets full access to international financial markets, as well as the opportunity to finance on very favorable terms. This division deals with important issues. For example, financing the development, production and purchase of machines for corporate and individual customers. It also provides banking, leasing and insurance services to these individuals. In general, a useful activity and, most importantly for the company, profitable.
And a couple more interesting facts in the end. In 2010, VW AG raised a huge amount of money, amounting to 57.243 billion euros! But out of all this, the net profit turned out to be only 1.55 billion. It seems small compared to the proceeds. However, this is actually a lot of money. After all, all expenses that go to almost 350 companies are taken into account. Because the profit is really solid. Therefore, it is not surprising thatVolkswagen is by far the largest, richest and most famous company.