From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Volkswagen, which means “people’s car” in German, is a German auto company based in Wolfsburg, Germany. In forms a major component of the much larger Volkswagen group, which is the third larger car producer after Toyota and General Motors[1].

Access Volkswagen's corporate rap sheet compiled and written by Good Jobs First here.

Company History

Volkswagen owes his existence largely to World War II. It began in 1933 because Hitler wanted a car for the “common people”. He asked Ferdinand Porsche to make changes to his original design to make it more suited for the working man. The main changes were related to better efficiency, ease of use and, of course, economic efficiency. With the development of the idea and the first models, the construction of the first factory began in 1938, in a town today known as Wolfsburg. The company, however, had only produced a handful of cars by the time the war started in 1939. This meant production changed to military cars; during the war the company produced a variety of models like the famous “bucket car” and the “ amphibious Schwimmwagen”, that were used to equip the German forces.

During the first post-war years (1945-1948), Volkswagen experienced many difficulties that almost closed it down. At first, the factory was used for military vehicle maintenance. However, due the variety of necessities of the British army, the company began to produce cars for the British army, which allowed it to survive perilous times and come to be part of the German economic miracle. On March 8th 1950, the production of the “Volkswagen bus” began developing an immediate and gigantic demand, thanks to its multifunctional characteristics. “On February 17th, 1972 Volkswagen breaks the world car production record: with 15,007,034 units assembled, the Beetle surpasses the legendary mark achieved by the Ford Motor Company's Model T, popularly known as the "Tin Lizzy", between 1908 and 1927.” In 1974, the first famous “Golf” model was built. The compact car quickly became a hit and advanced to become the legitimate heir to the legendary Beetle. Since that era, the success of Volkswagen has been exponentially impressive and today it is one of the largest automobile companies in the world[2]

Political and Public Influence

In 2008, Volkswagen spent $651,695 on lobbying[3].

In addition, Volkswagen sponsors several teams and groups in a variety of sports disciplines: Equestrian (Blemheim International Horse Trials), Cricket (England cricket team), Sailing (Laser SB3 class), Golf (Volkswagen masters Tournament) . It also sponsored the 2008 Olympic Games.

Corporate Accountability

17 May 2007: “Complaint against Volkswagen AC under the OECD Guide lines for Multinational Enterprises” [4]

This text is a report developed by the Germansourcewatch Corporation. In it, the corporation denounces many of the actions taken by Volkswagen related to the implementation of the OECD guidelines. According to the report, Volkswagen does not implement the guidelines “sufficiently or at all, in 15 exactly concretized specific instances”. The complete report can be reviewed on the cited webpage.


29 January 2008: “México sufre su propia fuga de empleos” [5]

The article asserts that in 2008, five workers were fired from the company Johnson Controls (one of the main suppliers of Volkswagen) because they intended to dispute their salary and labor conditions via a trade union. The company officials did not refer to the issue when asked.

6 November 2007: “Despiden a 150 obreros de la empresa Johnson Controls” [6]

This article reports that over a few months, more than 150 workers were fired unjustifiably from the company Johnson Controls. In addition, the fired workers asserted that labor abuses were constant and that they had to work for more than 12 hours a day.

January 2007: “Best places to work for LGBT equality 2007” [7]

The article refers to a report published by “Human Rights Campaign”. This report lists the best companies to work for with respect to the LGBT community. Volkswagen AC U.S.A. was included.

7 June 2002: “Volkswagen signs code of conduct” [8]

This article, published by the International Metalworkers Federation, celebrates and announces the approbation of the ¨Declaration on Social rights and industrial relationships at Vokswagen”. The paper states Volkswagen’s primary labor standards and also deals with freedom of association and other controversial issues.


Volkswagen has made big efforts in promote its work in developing clean diesel and other fuel-efficient technologies. It is planned that in 2009 the company will launch its new “clean diesel Jetta TDS”[9]. In addition, the company is working toward the creation of a completely compact hybrid vehicle. For example, Golf is the ideal model to go hybrid as the Golf 1.4 TSI was recently awarded the “Auto Environment Certificate” by the Oko-Trend Institute for Environmental Research, and was considered as one of the most environmentally friendly vehicles of 2007[10]. The rear-engine up will go into production in 2011.

19 December 2007: “EU proposes legislation that would require deep cuts in auto emissions”[11]

The article announces the warning the European Union officials made to leading automakers: They have to make very deep cuts in tailpipe emissions in the cars they produce or will face very high fines. What is more controversial, however, is that Volkswagen AC and Renault are not just failing to comply with the order but also “promised a fight to weaken the draft legislation”.

Business Scope

Lines of Business and Major Products Paragraph Units/Subsidiaries

Customers Suppliers Creditors Competitors
Customer 1 Supplier 1 Creditor 1 Competitor 1
Customer 2 Supplier 2 Creditor 2 Competitor 2
Customer 3 Supplier 3 Creditor 3 Competitor 3
Customer 4 Supplier 4 Creditor 4 Competitor 4

Financial Information (as of DATE)

Ticker Symbol:
Main Exchanges:
Investor Website:

Shareholder % Total Shares held
Shareholder 1 % Held 1
Shareholder 2 % Held 2
Shareholder 3 % Held 3
Shareholder 4 % Held 4

Largest Shareholders

Geographic scope paragraph

Country Revenue Profits Assets Employees
Country 1 Revenue 1 Profit 1 Assets 1 Employees 1
Country 2 Revenue 2 Profit 2 Assets 2 Employees 2
Country 3 Revenue 3 Profit 3 Assets 3 Employees 3
Country 4 Revenue 4 Profit 4 Assets 4 Employees 4


Accessed September 2015: [12]

Supervisory Board

Accessed September 2015: [13]  

Department head for coordination of Executive Board duties an planning

Member of the Supervisory Board of MAN Truck & Bus AG

  • Olaf Lies - Minister of Economic Affairs, Labor and Transport for the Federal State of Lower Saxony
  • Hartmut Meine - Director of the Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt Regional Office of IG Metall
  • Peter Mosch - Chairman of the General Works Council of AUDI AG
  • Bernd Osterloh - Chairman of the General and Group Works Councils of Volkswagen AG
  • Hans Michel Piëch - Lawyer in private practice
  • Ferdinand Oliver Porsche - Member of the Board of Management of Familie Porsche AG Beteiligungsgesellschaft
  • Wolfgang Porsche - Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG

  • Stephan Weil - Minister-President of the Federal State of Lower Saxony
  • Stephan Wolf - Deputy Chairman of the General and Group Works Councils of Volkswagen AG
  • Thomas Zwiebler - Chairman of the Works Council of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

Contact Information

Contact information for the company is available on the following page:

Articles and Resources

Books on the Company

Related SourceWatch Articles


External Resources

External Articles

This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.