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In German, the word Volkswagen means “people's car.” Indeed, few automobiles were as warmly embraced by an adoring public as the VW Beetle. Over the years, more than 21 million Volkswagen Beetles were sold across the globe. Despite being quirky, somewhat dumpy, and not very fast, the model was as much emblematic of the US as early Fords.

Volkswagen has morphed into much more than a producer of automobiles for everyday people. The company now covers all segments of the market, from Passat family sedans to the luxury Touareg SUV. It targets budget-conscious buyers through ownership of Czech automaker Skoda, while appealing to wealthy drivers through its Porsche, Bentley, and Lamborghini brands (it also owns upmarket Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati). Volkswagen’s bread and butter remains the popular Jetta, America’s best-selling VW model.

Volkswagen is currently weathering a publicity storm surrounding their manipulation of emissions test results to pass EPA standards. The controversy forced Volkswagen to relinquish their title of World’s Top Automaker.

Quick Facts

  • The 1963 Volkswagen Beetle used in the "Herbie" series of Hollywood films sold for $86,250 at Bonhams
  • In 2014, an iconic 1955 Volkswagen 9-seat Samba Microbus Deluxe minibus sold at auction for $235,000
  • In January 2016, the 1995 Volkswagen Jetta driven in the 2001 movie "The Fast and the Furious" sold for $46,200 at a Barrett-Jackson auction

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