Volkswagen CEO Pischetsrieder
Fabrizio Bensch  /  Reuters
Bernd Pischetsrieder, CEO of German car giant Volkswagen AG poses beside the 100th million produced Volkswagen vehicle in Berlin Tuesday.
updated 5/24/2005 9:24:03 AM ET 2005-05-24T13:24:03

The 100 millionth Volkswagen rolled off a German assembly line on Tuesday, taking the brand into an elite of four car companies whose output has stretched into nine digits, Europe’s biggest carmaker said. The Touran compact van with a silver metallic paint job that set the milestone at VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg is only distantly related to the humble Volkswagen Beetle that became a global icon of affordable mobility after World War Two.

Volkswagen — the name means “people’s car” in German — made just 1,800 Beetles in 1945, but eventually produced 21.5 million of the bug-shaped, bug-eyed vehicles.

Output of the VW Golf, which became the company’s subsequent workhorse, overtook the Beetle in 2002 and has hit 23 million. VW has also made 13 million Passats and 9 million Polos.

Volkswagen makes cars and commercial vehicles in 14 plants around the world. It delivered just over 3 million vehicles to customers in more than 150 countries last year.

Until now, only the Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet brands had made more than 100 million vehicles, a company spokesman said.

Including other brands made by the group, VW passed the 100 million mark in September 1999. Production of all its units — VW, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Audi, Seat, Lamborghini and commercial vehicles — surpassed 125 million last year. 

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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