1973 to 1981 – The Shift to Models with Water-Cooled Engines

Teaser Image Chronice 1973-1981

The new generation of Volkswagens arrived at the right time. It helped Volkswagenwerk AG out of the grave situation caused by the oil crisis of 1974/75 and the global recession that acutely threatened the company’s liquidity. The positive response to the Passat and the sales successes of the Golf, which led the German new car registration statistics from 1975 and instigated the compact car class, eased the overall reduced demand for automobiles on the domestic market. While the sales of other manufacturers declined by as much as 40 percent, Volkswagen was able to stabilise its 1975 figures at the previous year’s level. Most of the financial losses resulted from declining exports to Europe and North America. Earnings also declined in South Africa and Mexico, in spite of Volkswagen’s position as market leader, as costs exploded due to inflation and the exchange rate shifts could not be offset by price increases. The decline in sales on the export markets led to overcapacity at the domestic plants, with capacity utilisation dropping to 61 percent in 1975. Aligning production to sales necessitated a substantial reduction of the workforce. After some initial conflict, this was achieved in a socially acceptable manner by mutual agreement between the General Works Council and the company management. In 1976, Volkswagenwerk AG increased sales by more than 15 percent; the Volkswagen Group had overcome the crisis.

The launch of four new model series within just a few years was accompanied by far-reaching changes in production. In order to apply the traditionally high level of production mechanisation to the multi-model range, innovative technical and organisational production systems were required. To that end, between 1972 and 1975 the company launched a DM 2.5 billion investment programme which established the production engineering basis for the new product range. In 1973 Volkswagen converted the plants in Wolfsburg and Emden to hanging assembly line systems, thereby improving production flexibility and enhancing assembly conditions. Rationalisation was substantially enhanced by computer systems, for example in the press shop, where production was now controlled and monitored centrally. The company limited the production of air-cooled engines, while increasing capacities for water-cooled engines and introducing corresponding new manual and automatic transmissions into its range. Volkswagenwerk AG gradually established the preconditions to implement its modular component kit system, allowing use of the same parts in different models with largely identical technical specifications. The Passat was closely based on the Audi 80, while the Polo originated from the identical design of the Audi 50. The modular component kit system was an essential element of the new production concept aimed at safeguarding the company’s long-term profitability.

After the first phase of rationalisation was completed, Volkswagen concentrated on increasing its exports, especially to the USA, where the downward trend continued. Between 1973 and 1976, Volkswagen of America’s sales dropped from 540,364 to 238,167 vehicles; its market share was cut in half to 2.3 percent. The Volkswagen management had already started thinking about setting up a production facility in America back in 1973, in order to compensate for competitive disadvantages in pricing resulting from unfavourable exchange rates and West Germany’s high production costs. The main objection to this project was the tie-in to one model, and the resultant high degree of product dependency in a competitive market, whereas the alternative idea of upgrading production in Mexico to supply the USA raised concerns with regard to product image. But falling sales and financial losses from the export business finally brought acceptance of the idea that the only way to uphold the company’s key export bastion was to produce locally. Moreover, the strong initial success of the Golf also prompted the decision in June 1976 to build the Rabbit, the American version of the Golf, in the USA. The plant in Westmoreland began producing for the North American market in April 1978, after Volkswagen of America had the previous year succeeded in reversing its trend by achieving a 22 percent sales increase. Initially, not even the global recession beginning in 1980 or the massive competition from Japanese manufacturers, who dramatically cut the global market share of US car-makers within the space of a decade, had a negative impact on sales. Following a 13 percent rise in 1979, the US subsidiary reported a further rise in sales from around 337,000 to 368,000 Volkswagen and Audi models the following year. The company was benefitting in this from the dramatic rise in oil prices, which triggered growing demand for vehicles offering better fuel economy.

In order to stabilise its position in South America, Volkswagen took over the faltering Chrysler Corporation’s Brazilian subsidiary in 1979, and in 1980 acquired its Argentinian subsidiary too. The restructuring of Chrysler Motors do Brasil Ltda. as a dedicated truck-maker additionally strengthened the international supply network in the commercial vehicles sector. Volkswagen thereby intensified its involvement in the sector that had been instigated in 1977 by its co-operation agreement with Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg AG (M.A.N.). Volkswagen gradually expanded its commercial vehicles product range from 1975 onwards, creating a diversity of models similar to that in its car business. Along with the classic Transporter, the range included the LT, a light truck series developed jointly with M.A.N., as well as the truck built in Brazil starting in March 1981. The start of production of 11- and 13-tonne trucks by Volkswagen Caminhões Ltda. coincided with a dramatic downturn in the South American economy. Annual inflation rates of well over 100 percent as well as restrictive monetary and import policies led to a collapse in passenger car sales in Brazil and Argentina in 1981. Volkswagen do Brasil’s unit sales were 35 percent down against the previous year. Sales of Volkswagen Argentina S.A., which at the end of the year switched to assembling the Transporter from Brazilian component kits, fell by a third. At Volkswagen of America, too, 1981 saw a reversal of the sales trend. The following year there was a 40 percent slump in sales, due in part to the global economic crisis and in part to Japanese competition. The second assembly plant in Sterling Heights completed in 1982 did not go into operation and was sold in 1983.

Domestic demand was impacted by the second oil crisis, especially in the compact executive (D segment) class. While Audi suffered a drop in sales in 1980, Volkswagen profited from the shift to more economical models. The Golf, Golf Diesel and new Passat were successful in a declining market, enabling the Volkswagen Group to hold on to its market share of just under 30 percent. A greater cause for concern even than the unstable energy situation was the expansionist strategy of Japanese manufacturers, who by now were making more than one in five cars worldwide, and were gaining market shares in both America and Europe. Their success was based on a flexible, horizontal manufacturing system which enabled them to produce low-priced models and adapt quickly to changing customer needs. Up to then Volkswagen had strongly defended its position in the face of far-eastern competition, as its higher retail prices were backed by high standards of engineering and product quality, a superior sales and service network and the high resale values of its models. However, the shift in the Japanese exporters’ focus from the USA to Europe in 1980 resulted in a competitive battle that could not be won on the price front alone. The Volkswagen Group’s strategy was to concentrate on maintaining its technical edge and increasing the flexibility of its manufacturing system in order to adapt its production volumes, models and equipment specifications to the increasingly diverse demand.

Between 1979 and 1982, Volkswagenwerk AG invested around DM 10 billion in its German operations, primarily in the ongoing development of energy-saving, eco-friendly models and in rationalising production. The automation phase was marked by the introduction of micro-electronically controlled industrial robots, multi-purpose machinery capable of handling different vehicle types and models, and variable conveying systems. With the help of new control systems in the body shop, paint shop and final assembly, each vehicle could be handled as a custom order, and built according to individual customers’ preferences. Computer-controlled material flow and high-shelf storage with driver­less transport systems improved the efficiency of materials management. In 1981, the type-specific mechanised ope­ration of the body shop was converted to programmable handling machines. The high-point of these modernisation measures was the first ever fully automated car assembly line, which was commissioned into operation in shed 54 at the Wolfsburg plant.

Thus strengthened to meet the intensified competition, the Volkswagen Group set out on an expansionist course. Because of the limited growth possibilities on the domestic market, long-term survival depended on exploiting opportunities for expansion on international markets. The boom in the car industry over the coming decade provided favourable conditions for that undertaking. 


January 1

Chronicle 1973: January 1
Expansion of the portfolio and an increase in financing volumes make it necessary to convert financial services company Volkswagen-Finanzierungs-Gesellschaft mbH into a fully-fledged bank. Following approval by Germany’s banking regulatory office to launch banking operations, the company is renamed VW Kredit Bank GmbH. Its activities are still limited to motor vehicle loans. From 1978 onwards the company is named V.A.G Kredit Bank GmbH.

February 7

Chronicle 1973: February 7
Volkswagen of Nigeria Ltd. is founded in Lagos, with the participation of the Nigerian government. Volkswagenwerk AG holds 40 percent of the company’s shares. Setting up production in West Africa increases Volkswagen’s production capacity on the African continent and is aimed at developing an export market for Volkswagen’s subsidiaries in Brazil and Mexico. On March 21, 1975, Volkswagen of Nigeria begins assembling the VW 1300. In 1976 it builds over 16,000 vehicles, including the Passat, the Brasilia and the Audi 100, and increases its share of the passenger car market to 23.5 percent. Its position in the commercial vehicle market stabilises at 16.8 percent. In December 1976, the Nigerian Volkswagen subsidiary takes over imports of commercial vehicles in place of the previous general importer. A currency shortage in 1982 leads to state-imposed import controls, effectively throttling production in industries dependent on imports. Only in 1985, after a bilateral trade agreement between Nigeria and Brazil eases material supplies, is Volkswagen of Nigeria again able to produce continuously. Pursuant to this agreement, Volkswagen do Brasil supplies vehicle parts in exchange for oil shipments from Nigeria to Brazil.

May 14

Chronicle 1973: May 14
The Passat, the first model of the new Volkswagen generation, goes into production at the Wolfsburg plant. Presented to German and international media between May 21 and June 6 in Zurich, the Saloon and Variant estate version feature front-wheel drive, a water-cooled four-cylinder engine developing 55, 75 or 85 horsepower, an overhead camshaft, and an all-steel body. Technically, it is closely based on the Audi 80, and implements the modular kit system which delivers major potential for rationalisation by using standardised components for different Group models. The Passat becomes the successor to the VW 1600 in the mid-size class. The model, available in two-door and four-door versions, costs DM 8,555 ex-factory.

Jeans Bug

Chronicle 1973: Jeans Bug
During a one-month special model campaign, the Beetle 1200 sparkles with numerous extras such as radial tires, sport rims, jeans upholstery, passenger sun visor and lots more. Best of all – there is a 300 DM price reduction!

July 1

Chronicle 1973: July 1
Restructuring of the US distribution system based on takeover of the wholesale function is completed for the time being. Following acquisition of the two Californian distributors, the two new subsidiaries are merged into Volkswagen of America, Inc. From now on, regional distribution centres are responsible for the various sales territories. Parts and accessories sales are handled by Volume Export & Trading Corporation. Founded in 1973 in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and owned by Volkswagen’s subsidiary Holad Holding & Administration AG based in Basle, Switzerland, the company is renamed VOTEX, Inc in 1976.

Suspension assembly system

Chronicle 1973: Suspension assembly system
A diversified model range brings far-reaching changes to the production system. Innovative manufacturing concepts are called for to build the new models profitably and in line with customer wishes. The first stage at the Wolfsburg and Emden plants involves the introduction of a suspension assembly system, bringing a significant improvement in working conditions.

200,000th K 70

Chronicle 1973: 200,000th K 70
The two hundred thousandth K70 leaves the assembly line in Salzgitter. The interim model paved the way for Volkswagen’s new model generation starting with the Passat in 1973. A further 11,127 K70 models are built until 1975, the year when production was finally terminated.

Learning at Volkswagen

Chronicle 1973: Learning at Volkswagen
Volkswagen encourages the qualification and training of its workforce, from first-time employees to managers, building new training centers and training workshops in Wolfsburg, Puebla and São Bernardo do Campo. Standardized training models developed at Group headquarters in Wolfsburg form the basis for specialist and interdisciplinary qualification measures.

Volkswagen in South Africa

Chronicle 1973: Volkswagen in South Africa
In 1973, Volkswagen’s South African subsidiary sells 46,585 vehicles – 32.5 percent more than the previous year, giving the Volkswagen Group pole position on the South African passenger car market. This achievement is mainly due to local production of the most popular models – the Beetle, VW 412 and Audi 100. Despite this excellent business development, Volkswagen of South Africa makes a loss as high sales cannot offset the unfavorable exchange rate.

Beetle ad

Chronicle 1973: Beetle ad
“Nichts geht über die Verläßlichkeit.” (“There's nothing like dependability.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Directors: Helmut Schmitz, Werner Butter Art Director: Erwin Schmidt Texter: Helmut Schmitz, Werner Butter Embroidery: Nils Kristiansen This ad was a roaring success with customers: thousands wanted the embroidered motif as a cushion cover. Commenting on his “special favorite”, Dieter Buczek, at that time advertising director, said: “This was a very good ad, commercially speaking, too. The artwork cost 300 DM. That’s what an embroiderer from Düsseldorf charged for her work.”

Passat ad

Chronicle 1973: Passat ad
“Passat. Mit diesem Auto beginnt etwas Neues.” (“Passat. This car is the start of something new.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Helmut Schmitz Art Director: Boris Eucker Texter: Michael Borch Photographer: Hans Hansen The kick-off ad for the Passat campaign is no-frills and sends a crystal clear message: Volkswagen is presenting the first vehicle in a new generation of models with front-wheel drive, water cooling, four-cylinder in-line engine and an interior with plenty of space for five. The product photo gives the reader an idea of the spacious interior of the hatchback sedan that marked Volkswagen’s entry into the mid-class segment.

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1973: Statistics of the Year


February 4

Chronicle 1974: February 4
The Scirocco, a two-door sports coupe styled by Giorgio Giugiaro, goes into production at coachbuilder Karmann in Osnabrück. Based on the technical concept for the Golf, the Scirocco is characterised by its striking design, innovative technology and high degree of everyday practicality. The Scirocco is available with engines developing 50, 75 and 85 hp. Thanks to its light weight of just 750 or 775 kg, the Scirocco achieves top speeds of 144, 164 and 175 km/h respectively, depending on engine variant. The DIN standard fuel consumption of the 50 hp model is specified as 8.0 litres of regular petrol per 100 km. Prices start at DM 9,480. With sales of 504,153 units in its first generation, the Scirocco opens up a new market segment for Volkswagen.

March 29

Chronicle 1974: March 29
Production of the Golf begins in Wolfsburg. With its straight lines and compact design by Italian Giorgio Giugiaro, allied to water-cooled front-mounted engines developing 50 and 70 hp respectively, the model represents a landmark new concept. The compact car is 3705 mm long, 1610 mm wide and 1410 mm high. Its prices start from DM 7,995. The Golf, named after the German for “gulf” stream as well as the game of golf, offers space for five people and their luggage. It is a lightweight at just 750 kg, and reaches a top speed of 160 km/h. Presented to the media in Munich between May 20 and June 10, 1974, the Golf is acclaimed as a ground-breaker, with features and advanced design which will become the benchmark of an entire vehicle class. Joined in 1976 by the sporty GTI version and the economical Diesel, marking a first move into the small diesel car segment, the hatchback rapidly becomes a bestseller. The one millionth Golf rolls off the assembly line on October 27, 1976. The mass-market success of the Golf also boosts Volkswagen financially.

June 12

In order to reduce the personnel overhang linked to the dramatic collapse in sales, Volkswagenwerk AG offers wage-earner employees voluntary redundancy based on a company-wide agreement concluded with the General Works Council. The workforce is ultimately reduced in a socially acceptable way on the basis of voluntary redundancy, early retirement and reassignment. In the 1974/1975 period, the company’s workforce is reduced by 32,761.

Volkswagen after the first oil crisis

Chronicle 1974: Volkswagen after the first oil crisis
Volkswagen introduces the first voluntary termination packages regardless of age brought about by a hiring freeze and short time does not ease the problem of excess personnel. Volkswagen thus reacts to the economic collapse in the aftermath of the oil crisis and the ensuing global recession in the autumn of this year. The automobile industry is hard hit by this turn of events. In 1974, Volkswagen's sales drop about 15 percent. Deliveries to the United States, the most important export market, are about 30 percent lower than they were the year before. Mass terminations are planned, but the workforce can finally be reduced through early retirement, voluntary termination and transfers within the company. This makes the procedure socially acceptable. Between January and October 1975, about 32,761 employees leave the company.

June 17

Chronicle 1974: June 17
A Group Works Council is constituted at Volkswagenwerk AG. Siegfried Ehlers is elected Chairman.

Press shop control room

Chronicle 1974: Press shop control room
Volkswagenwerk AG’s model range undergoes fundamental change in 1974. New technical and organizational systems are needed in Wolfsburg as production of the Golf and Audi 50 begins. The photo shows the press shop control room in Wolfsburg which monitors and controls production processes.

July 1

Chronicle 1974: July 1
At 11.19 a.m., the last of almost twelve million Beetles leaves the assembly line in Wolfsburg.

November 6

Chronicle 1974: November 6
Hans Birnbaum becomes Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagenwerk AG.

Golf assembly in Hall 12

Chronicle 1974: Golf assembly in Hall 12
The launch of the Golf, which replaces the elderly Beetle, marks a generation change at Volkswagen. The type diversity and model variants of the new Volkswagen generation demonstrate that the Volkswagen Group intends to respond to customer wishes with greater flexibility in future.

Methanol-powered Scirocco

Chronicle 1974: Methanol-powered Scirocco
Haunted by the first oil crisis, the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology investigates alternative fuels to reduce the Federal Republic of Germany’s dependence on oil. As part of these efforts, Volkswagenwerk AG conducts a research program. By 1976, 45 vehicles are handed over the ADAC motoring association confirming the viability of a methanol-gasoline blend.

Golf ad

Chronicle 1974: Golf ad
“Der neue Volkssport: Golf.” (“The new people’s sport: Golf.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Helmut Schmitz Art Director: Dieter Möller Texter: Peter Oprach Photographer: Hans Hansen Golf advertising keeps to “Layout Nr. 1” of the Beetle campaign – the “mother of all campaigns” (Konstantin Jacoby). The product photo realizes the “look at the car” principle. The photo presents the Golf from the right back angle, an unusual perspective. The reader’s attention is automatically drawn to the rear of the Golf which, unlike the Beetle, does not house the engine, but offers 350 liters of space for stowing luggage. And the photo affords a glimpse of the spacious interior with plenty of room for five young adults. The photo conveys the essentials of the new Volkswagen. The headline sums it all up and describes the mission: Golf – a “national sport on wheels.”

Golf ad

Chronicle 1974: Golf ad
“Ein neues Auto macht sich breit.” (“A new car is catching on.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Helmut Schmitz Art Director: Dieter Möller Texter: Peter Oprach Photographer: Hans Hansen Volkswagen’s new compact sedan cuts a good figure with many target groups: the easy-going, the lanky types, the economically-minded, the taxpayers, the holidaymakers and the frequent parkers. Photo and copy position the Golf as a vehicle to “captivate all types of drivers” and invites readers to put that claim to the test.

Golf commercial

Chronicle 1974: Golf commercial
“Feuerwehr” (“Firefighters”) Fireman go for the Golf, the nimble and practical newcomer – not just for a publicity stunt.

Volkswagen commercial

Chronicle 1974: Volkswagen commercial
“Dummies” Volkswagen presents its very best safety specialists – the dummies.

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1974: Statistics of the Year


February 10

Chronicle 1975: February 10
Toni Schmücker becomes Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagenwerk AG.

March 5

Chronicle 1975: March 5
Production of the Polo begins in Wolfsburg. Just three and a half metres long, but offering as much as 900 litres of luggage capacity, the low-cost compact is largely identical in design to the Audi 50. It is marketed at a price of DM 7,500. Presented to the media between March 16 and 22, 1975 in Hanover, the Polo establishes itself as the smallest and most economical new-generation Volkswagen, and comes at just the right time in view of the sharp rise in fuel prices.

April 23

Chronicle 1975: April 23
The VW LT is launched on April 30 in Berlin, initially being presented to the German media before being exhibited to the international media from May 20 to 28 in Hanover. The new light truck with a 1.25, 1.5 or 1.75 tonne load capacity is powered by a front-mounted water-cooled petrol engine developing 75 hp, or a 65 hp diesel. It comes in box van, high-roof, flat-bed and low-loader flat-bed variants, in two wheelbases, and at prices starting from DM 14,065. The LT box van offers a load space of six square metres, with almost eight cubic metres volume. Its simple yet modern styling is aligned entirely to practical needs. A wide range of body variants extend the LT range.

Alaska-Tierra del Fuego endurance test for the Golf

Chronicle 1975: Alaska-Tierra del Fuego endurance test for the Golf
In cooperation with tire manufacturer Pirelli and accompanied by a Volkswagen Transporter as a mobile workshop, test drivers put the Golf through its paces on an endurance journey that attracts much media interest. The team travels the entire American continent from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in 94 days, covering a distance of 30,514 km. Both of the series Golf, which have only undergone minor modifications, impressively prove their reliability and driving characteristics.

“VW Siedlungsgesellschaft“

Chronicle 1975: “VW Siedlungsgesellschaft“
“VW-Siedlungsgesellschaft mbH” stops constructing new buildings for the time being, concentrating its activities on administration and maintenance of almost 6,000 company-owned apartments. It assumes these tasks from “VW-Wohnungsbau Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft m.b.H.” which performed maintenance and repair work on older buildings since 1973. The companies have a total of 13,317 apartments between them.

Works meeting

Chronicle 1975: Works meeting
1975 is a year of transition for Volkswagen. The new model generation has already taken to the road with the Passat, Scirocco and Golf. The company also reports progress as regards production flexibility and rationalization. Nevertheless the downturn in demand triggered by the global recession compels the company to make extensive cuts in its workforce.

Proving ground in Ehra-Lessien

Chronicle 1975: Proving ground in Ehra-Lessien
The company proving ground in Ehra-Lessien near Wolfsburg gives Volkswagen a very versatile terrain for testing its vehicles. Ordinary traffic situations as well as extreme scenarios are simulated on several different circuits.

Sales centers

Chronicle 1975: Sales centers
In 1975, Volkswagen reorganizes its sales structure in the Federal Republic of Germany, establishing 22 Volkswagen and Audi sales centers. Volkswagen AG holds a share of 26 percent in each of these sales centers which assume the wholesale function, replacing the 80 Volkswagen general agencies and seven sales centers owned by Audi and NSU.

Volkswagen in France

Chronicle 1975: Volkswagen in France
Volkswagen’s new model generation is especially successful in France. The positive market response to the Passat, Golf & co. and the acquisition of the Audi sales network by Volkswagen France S.A. are reflected by a 54 percent rise in sales to 55,667 vehicles.

Polo ad

Chronicle 1975: Polo ad
“Premiere für Polo.” (“Premiere for Polo.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach

Golf ad

Chronicle 1975: Golf ad
“Der Golf kann eine Menge vertragen.” (“The Golf can take a lot.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Helmut Schmitz Art Directors: Dieter Möller, Boris Eucker Texters: Werner Butter, Michael Borch, Peter Oprach Photographer: Hans Hansen

Golf commercial

Chronicle 1975: Golf commercial
“Waschanlage” (“Car wash”) The Volkswagen Golf is Germany’s most successful car.

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1975: Statistics of the Year


500,000 Golf

Chronicle 1976: 500,000 Golf
Pause for celebration at the plant on the Mittellandkanal after the breathtaking success of the Golf launch! Less than two years after series production began, Volkswagen has marketed over five hundred thousand Golf and in this year – only 31 months after production started – the Golf tops the symbolic mark of one million vehicles. To date, Volkswagen has delivered more than 26 million of its most successful model.

March 31

Chronicle 1976: March 31
Volkswagenwerk AG sells Motor Producers Ltd. to the Nissan Motor Company Ltd., which has owned shares in the Australian Volkswagen subsidiary since 1973. The company continues contract assembly of Volkswagens until the end of 1976. Thereafter, an independent authorised agent imports only complete Volkswagen and Audi models into Australia.

June 21

Chronicle 1976: June 21
The new four-cylinder 1.5 litre diesel engine developing 50 hp rolls off the production line at the Salzgitter plant. The new power unit, developed by a research project over a number of years, and installed initially in the Golf Diesel, achieves fuel consumption of just six litres per 100 km, setting new standards of economy and establishing Volkswagen as a leader in low-consumption diesel technology. The company’s engineers and technicians now turn to the task of combining the economy of diesel with the performance of the petrol engine. The first result of their efforts – a five-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine – goes into production on December 1, 1981. The following year, the Salzgitter engine plant starts production of the 70 hp four-cylinder 1.6 litre turbo diesel engine. Presented to the international motoring media in March 1982 in the Golf GTD, it underlines Volkswagen’s innovative strength in engine technology.

July 6

Chronicle 1976: July 6
In response to pressure from the downward Dollar exchange rate impacting on Volkswagen exports to the USA, Volkswagen Manufacturing Corporation of America is established to build up production in the USA. The new subsidiary acquires a press plant in South Charleston, West Virginia, and an assembly plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, where production of the Golf for the North American market begins in April 1978. Engines and gearboxes come from Germany, rear axles and radiators from Volkswagen de Mexico, and the remaining parts chiefly from US component suppliers. The new production company is merged into Volkswagen of America, Inc. on July 31, 1978. Corporate headquarters move from Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey to Warren, Michigan. Following the introduction of two-shift production in 1979, the Westmoreland plant, with its workforce of 9,102, reaches the production target of 1,000 vehicles per day.

City taxi hybrid prototype

Chronicle 1976: City taxi hybrid prototype
Volkswagen researches into alternative powertrains in response to the oil crisis. A series of concepts and test vehicles such as vehicles powered by an ethanol-gasoline mixture and a hybrid vehicle. This prototype based on a Transporter is presented as a city taxi at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1976. The combination of electric motor and combustion engine combines an extensive range with excellent environmental compatibility and is designed to reduce exhaust and noise levels in urban traffic in particular. The dc motor has a speed of up to 70 kilometers per hour when the combustion engine is not activated: when the gasoline engine comes on stream, the electric motor acts as a generator and recharges the eleven 12-volt batteries.

Volkswagen in Brazil

Chronicle 1976: Volkswagen in Brazil
Despite a sluggish economy, Volkswagen do Brasil reports a rise in sales and a positive result for the year. The good sales figures are mainly due to commercial vehicle business, where the company improves its position by modifying its Transporter model range. Volkswagen do Brasil also profits from exporting 65,994 of its own vehicles to South and Central America and Africa.

Golf GTI

Chronicle 1976: Golf GTI
The compact power package. Volkswagen presents a powerful sporty series vehicle in the shape of the Golf GTI, designed to meet the needs of everyday traffic and well as mastering the demanding challenges of motorsport. A transversely-mounted four-cylinder in-line engine with mechanical fuel injection powers the 110 hp GTI to a top speed of 182 kilometers per hour. The sporty character of the vehicle is highlighted by numerous extras such as halogen headlights, wider fender and broader tires. Checked sports seats, a three-spoke steering wheel, a rev counter and a gear shift knob shaped like a black golf ball are all part of the racy interior.

Last steam engine in Wolfsburg

Chronicle 1976: Last steam engine in Wolfsburg
The departure of the last steam-engine car transporter train marks the end of an era at Europe’s largest private loading station in Wolfsburg. Now, modern diesel and electric locomotives are used for rail haulage at Volkswagens, stepping in the tracks of those iron horses which spouted soot and steam and pounded and hissed their way back and forth for many decades.

Office building in Wolfsburg

Chronicle 1976: Office building in Wolfsburg
During the course of 1976, Volkswagenwerk AG and its workforce of 97,422 build 1,316,039 vehicles. The company generates sales of 16,914 million DM, a rise of 48.8 percent compared with the previous year, and reports a profit of 784 million DM.

Golf GTI ad

Chronicle 1976: Golf GTI ad
“Der neue Golf GTI. Das Auto mit Sportanzug.” (“The new Golf GTI. The car in a sports suit.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach

Golf ad

Chronicle 1976: Golf ad
“Von Null auf 1 Million in 31 Monaten.” (“From zero to 1 million in 31 months.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach

Golf commercial

Chronicle 1976: Golf commercial
“Millionär” (“Millionaire”) The Golf becomes the sales “millionaire” within the space of 31 months.

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1976: Statistics of the Year


January 7

Chronicle 1977: January 7
The Derby notchback saloon goes into production at the Wolfsburg plant. Technically based on the Polo, the two-door compact has a 515 litre boot and offers space for five people. The transverse-mounted front engine developing 40 hp offers economical DIN standard consumption of just 7.3 litres per 100 km of regular petrol. The 60 hp engine powers the car to a top speed of 150 km/h. At a base price of DM 9,055, the Derby offers “a lot of car for not a lot of money”. A total of 95,049 Derbys are delivered to customers by the year-end.

April 15

Chronicle 1977: April 15
Volkswagenwerk AG establishes Volkswagen International Finance N.V., based in Amsterdam. The 100 percent Volkswagen subsidiary owns Volkswagen Overseas Finance N.V. in Willemstad, and finances the Group’s activities on international markets, including shareholdings in foreign companies.

Derby production

Chronicle 1977: Derby production
The customer is king when it comes to the Derby, too. Buyers can chose a 40, 50 or 60 hp engine and have a wide range of equipment options. Apart from the basic model, the Derby also comes in an L, LS and GLS version, each featuring numerous extras and greater comfort such as chrome trim, adjustable ventilation and cord upholstery. 112,783 Derby models are sold by the end of the year.

10,000 Volkswagens for Deutsche Bundesbahn

Chronicle 1977: 10,000 Volkswagens for Deutsche Bundesbahn
The ten thousandth vehicle Volkswagen delivers to Deutsche Bundesbahn on April 28,1977 is a Polo.

June 29

Chronicle 1977: June 29
The freight facility on the Delaware River in Wilmington, Delaware, is opened. It includes a floating pier, transshipping facilities and warehousing, as well as a loading platform with three rail tracks. Its central location on the east coast, close to the key regional markets, makes Wilmington the main port for imports into the USA.

July 5

Chronicle 1977: July 5
Pursuant to Germany’s Co-Determination Act of July 1, 1976, the annual shareholders’ meeting elects a new Supervisory Board, comprising ten employee representatives and ten employer representatives respectively.

August 25

Chronicle 1977: August 25
Volkswagenwerk AG strengthens its involvement in the commercial vehicles business. The cooperation contract signed with Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg AG (M.A.N.) provides for the joint development and manufacture of light trucks. To consolidate future sales in Europe, the holding company “GmbH für ausländische Vertriebsbeteiligungen M.A.N. Volkswagen” is founded in Munich on December 20, 1978. It represents the interests of both manufacturers in dealings with European importers.

“Black & White” Scirocco

Chronicle 1977: “Black & White” Scirocco
A special attraction for all Scirocco fans is the “Black & White” special edition limited to an exclusive 2,000 models.

November 18

Chronicle 1977: November 18
Volkswagenwerk AG signs a contract with the German Democratic Republic’s state-owned vehicle import-export corporation to supply 10,000 Golfs. Delivered to the GDR by rail through to the end of July 1979, the vehicles are paid for on a barter basis, including large presses, oil, spotlights, and the technical outfitting of the Wolfsburg Planetarium.

Brunswick plant

Chronicle 1977: Brunswick plant
The transfer of rear axle production to Brunswick begins at the end of the year: Now this site is the major location for axle production within Volkswagenwerk AG. The second phase follows in June 1978 and moves the mechanical handling of axle housing for the Passat and Audi 80 to Brunswick. Finally, early in 1979, the installation of the assembly line for Golf rear axles follows.

Last Passat from Wolfsburg

Chronicle 1977: Last Passat from Wolfsburg
After four and a half years and 612,473 vehicles, the last Passat leaves the assembly line in Wolfsburg. In future, this model will be exclusively built at the Emden plant. It is not until 1996 that a second plant in Mosel, Saxony, begins building the Passat.

Golf ad

Chronicle 1977: Golf ad
“Schier unverwüstlich.” (“Rugged little powerhorse.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Werner Butter Art Director: Rainer Held Texter: Peter Oprach Photographer: Ben Oyne, Heinz Kastrop Award: “Evergreen”, Art Directors Club Deutschland 1978

Golf ad

Chronicle 1977: Golf ad
“Auto, Motor und Spurt.” (“Autospurt.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Werner Butter Art Director: Rainer Held Texter: Peter Oprach Photographer: Ben Oyne, Heinz Kastrop Award: “Evergreen”, Art Directors Club Deutschland 1978

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1977: Statistics of the Year


January 19

Chronicle 1978: January 19
The last of 16,255,500 VW 1200L series cars to be built in Germany rolls off the production line at the Emden plant. The Dakota-beige Beetle marks the end of an era.

25 million gearboxes from Kassel

Chronicle 1978: 25 million gearboxes from Kassel
The workforce in Kassel celebrates production of the 25 millionth manual gearbox on February 17. Volkswagen began gearbox production at what was then its new plant in Hesse in 1959.

May 1

Chronicle 1978: May 1
The newly founded V.A.G Transportgesellschaft mbH takes over the operations previously handled by Wolfsburger Transportgesellschaft. Bundling the procurement and sale of national and international transport services and of consulting services to third parties in a new company becomes necessary in particular as a result of changes to tax law and the increased transport volumes linked to the establishment of new manufacturing plants abroad.

Industrial robots in production

Chronicle 1978: Industrial robots in production
Volkswagen tests the deployment of industrial robots in various sections of production in preparation for the 1979 to 1982 investment program. The announced rationalization measures pave the way for the launch of the second generation of the Passat, Golf, Scirocco and Polo.

July 1

Chronicle 1978: July 1
With the introduction of the name “V.A.G”, the Volkswagen and Audi sales organisation acquires a cross-brand identity. The cryptic abbreviation, with its associations to both Volkswagen and Audi, has the character of a trademark. Under the umbrella of V.A.G, the sales system is standardised and modernised to meet more demanding customer expectations and combat tougher competition. As before, the sales organisation is based on the franchise system, meaning that retailers trade as independent businesses in accordance with the Volkswagen Group’s uniform standards. At the end of 1978, the worldwide V.A.G sales organisation has over 211,000 employees at 10,600 distributor firms.

Crash test dummies

Chronicle 1978: Crash test dummies
Growing traffic volumes and the very sharp rise in accident statistics in the early 1970s clearly show a need for action: vehicle safety begins to play a greater role in automobile development. During crash tests, Volkswagen designers use dummies to simulate the effects of accident scenarios on the human body, thus gaining important insights into how to optimize automotive safety measures.


Chronicle 1978: Iltis
Production of the Iltis, an all-wheel drive off-road vehicle, begins in Ingolstadt. Developed by Audi and based on the DKW Munga, the Iltis is marketed under the Volkswagen brand.

LT 40

Chronicle 1978: LT 40
In fall, Volkswagen extends the LT truck series launched in 1975 by commencing production of the LT 40 and 45, thus strengthening its commitment in the commercial vehicle sector. The newly-developed and more powerful 6-cylinder diesel engine and the special square section steel frame gave the entire LT range an exceptionally high payload. The light truck series with a gross vehicle weight rating of between 2.8 and 4.5 metric tons is designed to suit just about every purpose – panel van, pickup, camper, single or double cab and bespoke conversions.

Transporter ad

Chronicle 1978: Transporter ad
“Der spart ein Schweinegeld.” (“He saves loads of money.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Werner Butter Art Director: Rainer Held Texter: Peter Oprach Photographer: Ben Oyne, Heinz Kastrop Award: “Evergreen” ,Art Directors Club Deutschland 1978

Volkswagen ad

Chronicle 1978: Volkswagen ad
“An unserer Qualität ist nicht zu rütteln.” (“Nothing can undermine our quality.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Werner Butter Art Director: Walter Hugelshofer Texter: Michael Borch Photographer: Ben Oyne Award: “Evergreen”, Art Directors Club Deutschland 1978

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1978: Statistics of the Year


February 14

Chronicle 1979: February 14
Coachbuilder Karmann in Osnabrück starts production of the Golf Convertible. Its sturdy roll bar and well-insulated water-tight top set new standards of safety and comfort. Customers have a choice of two engines: a 1.5 litre 70 hp engine, or a 1.6 litre GTI unit developing 110 hp. The open-top Golf goes on to become Europe’s best-selling convertible.

March 1

Chronicle 1979: March 1
The Volkswagen Iltis premieres at the Geneva Motor Show. The civilian version of the all-terrain vehicle first developed for the German Army in January 1976 is acclaimed as “an ideal tool for agricultural and forestry workers, for hunters, or for off-road fun-seekers”. The first of the Volkswagen Iltis units are delivered to the German Army on November 30, 1978. Among its key attributes are its speed on surfaced roads, its robust engineering, its 22.5 cm ground clearance and 60 cm wading depth, as well as its ability to handle inclines up to 77 % while carrying its full load capacity of 700 kg. The four-wheel drive off-roader is sold at a list price of DM 33,600. It is built by Audi in Ingolstadt.

March 1

Chronicle 1979: March 1
Volkswagenwerk AG acquires two thirds of the capital of Chrysler Motors do Brasil Ltda. in São Bernardo do Campo, in order to extend its operations on the Brazilian commercial vehicles market. After it acquires the remaining shares, on February 20, 1981 the subsidiary is renamed Volkswagen Caminhões Ltda. Having been restructured as a dedicated commercial vehicles manufacturer, the company drives ahead with the development of its own truck line. The results of those efforts are the 11-tonne and 13-tonne trucks launched in Brazil in March 1981. On July 25, 1984, Volkswagen Caminhões Ltda. is merged into Volkswagen do Brasil S.A. in order to optimise cost structures and use of capacity.

March 8

Chronicle 1979: March 8
By acquiring a majority interest in Triumph Werke Nürnberg AG, Volkswagen enters the office machinery and information technology sector. In 1980 the new subsidiary is renamed “Triumph-Adler Aktiengesellschaft für Büro- und Informationstechnik” and Volkswagen increases its holding to 98.4 percent. The diversification turns into a drain on resources. Despite major investment in developing new product lines and expanding the sales organisations in Germany and the USA, performance is unsatisfactory, especially in the computer segment. After sustained heavy losses, Volkswagen refocuses on its core business. The company, now named TA Triumph-Adler AG, along with Triumph-Adler North America (TANA), is sold to Amsterdam-based Olivetti Holding B.V. on September 1, 1986.

May 8

Chronicle 1979: May 8
The third generation of the Transporter is presented to the media in Wolfsburg through to May 11. Like its two predecessors, the new Volkswagen Transporter features an air-cooled rear-mounted boxer engine. Built at the Hanover plant in a wide range of body variants, the one-tonne capacity vehicle is attractively styled in line with the LT series, offering good aerodynamics and plenty of space for people and cargo, as well as a package of state-of-the-art active and passive safety features. Initially powered by a 50 or 70 hp flat engine, its prices start from DM 14,435.

Passat GLi

Chronicle 1979: Passat GLi
Volkswagen extends its Passat model range to include a new top model, the GLi sedan. The model combines practicability and sporty elegance with features including a 110 hp, 1.6 liter gasoline direct injection engine and numerous optical highlights such as a rear spoiler, a new chassis and halogen twin headlights. The Passat GLi Variant introduced a little later goes down in automobile history as the first German sports station wagon.

September 3

Chronicle 1979: September 3
The Wolfsburg plant starts production of the Jetta, a mid-size notchback filling the gap in the range between the Passat fastback saloon and the compact Golf. Technically based on the Golf and initially available with engines developing 60, 70 or 110 hp, a key feature of the Jetta is its 630 litre luggage space. The 110 hp 1.6 litre engine, powering the car to a top speed of 178 km/h, offers a sporty option. With prices starting from DM 11,395, a total of 144,758 Jettas have already been sold in 1980.

Polo facelift

Chronicle 1979: Polo facelift
Volkswagen’s Polo and Derby start the new model year with numerous facelift features and optical improvements. The innovations include newly-designed radiator grilles, modern two-stage heating and ventilation systems and optimized bumpers as well as electrically-operated windshield wash systems and completely revamped dashboards. The range includes the basic, L, and GL lines with three engines: 40 hp and 0.9 liter cubic capacity, 50 hp and 1.1 liter cubic capacity and the two top models with 60 hp and 1.3 liter cubic capacity.

September 12

Chronicle 1979: September 12
The new range of 6- to 9-tonne trucks is launched at the IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show. The concept has been brought to market in just two years as a joint project between M.A.N. and Volkswagen. It is built on a modular basis, with M.A.N. supplying the diesel engines, for example, and most of the final assembly being carried out at Volkswagen’s Hanover plant. Two economical diesel engines developing 90 and 136 hp respectively are available for the vehicle.

November 16

Chronicle 1979: November 16
Karl Gustaf Ratjen becomes Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagenwerk AG.

Passat ad

Chronicle 1979: Passat ad
“Der neue Passat Diesel.” (“The new Passat Diesel. What an elegant way to save.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach

Golf ad

Chronicle 1979: Golf ad
“Hier sehen Sie die 10 Erfolgreichsten Europas.” (“Here you see Europe’s ten most successful cars.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1979: Statistics of the Year


April 1

Chronicle 1980: April 1
In order to strengthen its position on the unstable South American car and truck market, Volkswagenwerk AG acquires a majority share in Chrysler Fevre Argentina S.A.I.C., which on November 21, 1980 is renamed Volkswagen Argentina S.A. In 1987 production is moved from the San Justo plant to the facilities in Pacheco and Monte Chingolo.

May 8

Chronicle 1980: May 8
At the Energy Symposium in Wolfsburg, host Volkswagen presents Formula E, an energy-saving reconfiguration of gear ranges now available in practically every model. Top speed can be reached in third gear, while the significantly reduced revs in fourth gear improve fuel economy. This innovation is Volkswagen’s response to the rise in energy prices following the second oil crisis, which provoked a change in attitude on the part of many motorists. Economical cars are now in greater demand, while the market for compact executive (D segment) models is declining worldwide.


Chronicle 1980: Transporter
Volkswagen’s delivery program this year includes 84 different versions of the Transporter. The Transporter is an all-round talent that suits just about every job; Kombi, bus, double cab, panel van, pickup or ambulance, two or eight-seater, fitted with a boxer engine and a power output of 37 or 51 kW, manual or automatic transmission – the Transporter has the answer!

October 27

Chronicle 1980: October 27
The media presentation of the second-generation Passat is launched in Ascona in the Ticino (Tessin) area of northern Italy. The fastback model and its Variant estate version have been enhanced in their styling and made bigger inside than their predecessors. Both are initially offered with four engines, from the small 1.3 litre four-cylinder unit developing 55 hp up to the 2.2 litre 115 hp five-cylinder unit. With the 4+E manual gearbox, the Passat Diesel achieves DIN standard fuel economy of 7.2 litres of diesel per 100 km in the urban cycle. At a constant 90 km/h its consumption drops to 4.7 litres per 100 km. Prices for the Passat start at DM 14,295.

December 19

Chronicle 1980: December 19
Volkswagenwerk AG establishes a new heat and power generating subsidiary, VW Kraftwerk GmbH, in Wolfsburg. The aim of building a new coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant is to adapt the company’s energy services to third parties to the growing demand for heat and power. The West power plant is completed on February 25, 1985, joining the South plant, built in 1938, and the North plant built in 1962, which are likewise combined heat and power facilities. The plants provide power to the Wolfsburg factory installation as well as supplying deionised water to the paint shop. They also supply heat and power to the municipal and national grids.

Modernizing production

Chronicle 1980: Modernizing production
Investment between 1979 and 1982 centers on raising productivity and flexibility at the Volkswagen plants in Germany. Computer-controlled industrial robots, multipurpose machines and variable transport systems now make it easier to adjust production to demand and build vehicles to meet customers’ wishes.

Rabbit Pick-Up

Chronicle 1980: Rabbit Pick-Up
With 368,065 vehicles delivered, Volkswagen of America grows prior-year sales by 9.3 percent. The Rabbit Pick-Up, a small delivery van based on the Golf, makes an excellent market debut, selling 28,690 units.


Chronicle 1980: Gol
Volkswagen do Brasil launches the Gol mid-year. The compact car is the third series vehicle developed by Volkswagen do Brasil in-house, following the SP-2 sports car in 1972 and the Brasilia in 1973. By 1987 the Gol has emerged as the best-selling vehicle in Brazil, and more than five million have been produced so far.

Golf ad

Chronicle 1980: Golf ad
“Das meistgeklaute Auto Amerikas.” (“America's most stolen car.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Werner Butter Art Director: Dieter Möller Texter: Klaus Wimmer Photographer: Jan Keetmann, David Langley, Ivo v. Renner

Golf ad

Chronicle 1980: Golf ad
“Auch in Amerika rollt die Sparwelle.” (“Savings on a roll in the U.S.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach

Passat commercial

Chronicle 1980: Passat commercial
“Sonnenaufgang” (“Sunrise”) The sun rises on Volkswagen’s presentation of the new Passat Variant.

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1980: Statistics of the Year


March 5

Chronicle 1981: March 5
At the 51st Geneva Motor Show running through to March 15, Volkswagen exhibits the second generation of its elegant sports coupe, the Scirocco. Now somewhat more curvy in design, the Scirocco is fitted as standard with a 60 hp engine, and offers 70, 85 and 110 hp options. Prices are between DM 16,600 and DM 22,545 ex-factory. The model is still built at Karmann in Osnabrück.

July 1

Chronicle 1981: July 1
V.A.G España, S.A., founded in Madrid, takes over the responsibilities of the former Volkswagen general importer, which had also represented Daimler-Benz. V.A.G España successfully builds an independent sales organisation for Volkswagen and Audi, and increases its sales to 2,379 vehicles in 1982. Pursuant to the co-operation agreement between Volkswagen and Seat, Volkswagen’s dealership organisation is integrated into that of the Spanish car-maker, which from January 1983 onwards is able to sell Volkswagen and Audi models through a much more extensive dealer network. At the same time V.A.G España, S.A. ceases trading.

20 million Beetles

Chronicle 1981: 20 million Beetles
A historic moment in the automotive industry: the 20 millionth Beetle leaves the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico.

Quality assurance

Chronicle 1981: Quality assurance
ARGUS, ECOS and MONTIS are the names of the new inspection systems used by Volkswagen to optimize vehicle quality assurance. ARGUS is a high-accuracy, high-speed visual inspection system that tests parts for defects; TV cameras, laser sensors and x-ray tubes take over from the human eye with much greater accuracy. ECOS, the Electric Check-Out System, monitors the functionality of the entire vehicle electronics system. The MONTIS computer system (assembly information and control) monitors numerous data at several production points from the paintshop to final inspection.


Chronicle 1981: Voyage
The Voyage, a notchback version of the Gol compact car, is launched in Brazil. The vehicle with its contemporary design is powered by a water-cooled 1.4-liter engine with a power output of 78 hp and a maximum speed of 148 kilometers per hour. 850,000 vehicles leave the assembly line at Volkswagen do Brasil until production ceases in 1996.

September 14

Volkswagenwerk AG and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. conclude a basic agreement to build the Santana in Japan. Nissan is to provide the production facilities, at Zama near Tokyo, and market the model through its dealer organisation, while Volkswagen is to supply the engines, gearboxes and chassis units. The Santana is launched onto the Japanese market in February 1984.

September 17

Chronicle 1981: September 17
Volkswagen’s new top-of-the-range model, the Santana fastback saloon, is premiered at the IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show. Bigger and more elegant than any of the previous models, the Santana adds a “large classic tourer” to the Volkswagen model range. Built in Wolfsburg, with engineering largely identical to the Passat, the four-door saloon starting at a price of DM 17,995 is intended to close a gap in the range. Despite its attractive features including a generous 535 litres of boot capacity, the Santana does not sell as well as expected in Europe. From 1983 onwards the Santana is also built in China, where it becomes a million-seller.

September 17

Chronicle 1981: September 17
At the IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show, Volkswagenwerk AG presents the “Auto 2000” project sponsored by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Research and Technology. The three-cylinder turbocharged direct-injection diesel engine developing 45 hp consumes just 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour. This study is Volkswagen’s contribution to the ecological debate aimed at framing policies to save energy and reduce pollution.

September 30

Chronicle 1981: September 30
On the island of Sardinia through to October 8, journalists from Germany and all over Europe have the opportunity to test drive the new Polo. The second generation of Volkswagen’s two-door compact – acclaimed as “a practical, economical small car” – differs from the predecessor model in being a hatchback. With its 40, 50 and 60 hp engines, it combines enhanced responsiveness with better fuel economy. Its DIN standard consumption of just 5.8 to 7.9 litres of regular petrol per 100 km and its starting price of DM 11,185 are appealing arguments for cost-conscious buyers.

December 15

Chronicle 1981: December 15
Production of the second-generation Derby at the Wolfsburg plant surpasses the target of 100 units a day. Technically identical to the Polo, but very distinct in its styling, the notchback saloon with a 540 litre boot capacity is sold at prices starting from DM 11,595. From January 1985 it is marketed as the Polo notchback.

Golf ad

Chronicle 1981: Golf ad
“Es gibt 141 Golf-Staaten.” (“There are 141 Golf states.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach Creative Director: Werner Butter Art Director: Dieter Möller Texter: Klaus Wimmer Photographer: Ivo v. Renner

Golf Cabriolet ad

Chronicle 1981: Golf Cabriolet ad
“Kein Dach überm Kopf, aber ’n Golf fahren.” (“No roof over our heads but riding in a Golf.”) Agency: Doyle Dane Bernbach

Polo commercial

Chronicle 1981: Polo commercial
“Orchestermusik” (“Orchestra music”) A car for violinists, trumpeters and conductors. The second generation of the Polo is once again a “Volkswagen by Volkswagen“.

Statistics of the Year

Chronicle 1981: Statistics of the Year
The specified fuel consumption and emission data are determined in accordance with the measurement procedures prescribed by law. 1 January 2022, the WLTP test cycle completely replaced the NEDC test cycle and therefore no NEDC values are available for new type approved vehicles after that date. This information does not refer to a single vehicle and is not part of the offer but is only intended for comparison between different types of vehicles. Additional equipment and accessories (additional components, tyre formats, etc.) can alter relevant vehicle parameters such as weight, rolling resistance and aerodynamics, affecting the vehicle's fuel consumption, power consumption, CO2 emissions and driving performance values in addition to weather and traffic conditions and individual driving behavior. Due to more realistic testing conditions, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions measured according to WLTP will in many cases be higher than the values measured according to NEDC. As a result, the taxation of vehicles may change accordingly as of 1 September 2018. For further information on the differences between WLTP and NEDC, please visit www.volkswagen.de/wltp. Further information on official fuel consumption data and official specific CO2 emissions for new passenger cars can be found in the "Guide to fuel economy, CO2 emissions and power consumption for new passenger car models", which is available free of charge from all sales dealerships and from DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, D-73760 Ostfildern, Germany and at www.dat.de/co2.