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Volkswagen means ‘People’s car’ in German. The history of the company is tied with Adolf Hitler.
Before the rise of Hitler, the German economy was in a very bad shape; as a result people couldn’t afford to buy cars. In 1933, Hitler raised the idea of an inexpensive car in the Auto show.
In 1934, Ferdinand Porsche met with Hitler to design the car. Hitler gave him all the specifications of the car and Porsche promised to deliver the design. In 1937, the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH was created (it became simply Volkswagenwerk GmbH a year later). In 1938, Hitler opened a state funded Volkswagen factory in Walburg. It was suppose to produce commercial cars, but it was used to churn out military cars. It was only later found that Hitler had intended to use the Porsche car as a military vehicle only, which could carry 3 men and a machine gun.
After the WWII, Britishers took over the company. They renamed the car as Beetle. Surprisingly all the car makers like Fiat and Ford declined to take ‘free control’ of the Volkswagen factory. So, it was returned to the German government, and went on to become one of the world’s bestselling cars ever.
The first logo was designed by Franz Xavier Reimspiess, a Porsche employee during an office logo design competition. The main part of the logo hasn’t changed much, but understandably after the WWII, they got rid of the design around the circle which seems to be inspired from the Nazi flag. I love the colors that were added in 2000, to the logo which was built after WWII, it depicts a positive change in the company and the ability to adapt to the new millennium.