Volkswagen means "people's car" in German.
Volkswagen Passenger Cars, also known as VW, an automobile manufacturer based in Wolfsburg, Germany, is the original brand within the Volkswagen Group, as well as the largest brand by sales volume. Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, in which it is pronounced. Its current tagline or slogan is Das Auto (in English The Car). Its previous German tagline was Aus Liebe zum Automobil, which translates to: Out of Love for the Car, or, For Love of the Automobile, as translated by VW in other languages. had a keen interest in cars even though he did not like to drive. In 1933, shortly after taking over as leader of Germany, he teamed up with Ferdinand Porsche to make changes to his original 1931 design to make it more suited for the working man, thus founding Volkswagen. Hans Ledwinka discussed his ideas with Ferdinand Porsche, who used many Tatra design features in the 1938 "KdF-Wagen", later known as the VW Käfer—or Volkswagen Beetle. On 22 June 1934, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche agreed to create the "People's Car" for Hitler. Changes included better fuel efficiency, reliability, ease-of-use, and economically efficient repairs and parts. The intention was that ordinary Germans would buy the car by means of a savings scheme ("Fünf Mark die Woche musst Du sparen, willst Du im eigenen Wagen fahren" — "Save five Marks a week, if you want to drive your own car"), which around 336,000 people eventually paid into. Volkswagen honoured its savings agreements in West Germany (but not in East Germany) after World War II. Prototypes of the car called the "KdF-Wagen" (German: Kraft durch Freude — "strength through joy"), appeared from 1936 onwards (the first cars had been produced in Stuttgart). The car already had its distinctive round shape and air-cooled, flat-four, rear-mounted engine. The VW car was just one of many KdF programmes which included things such as tours and outings. The prefix "Volks" ("People's") was not just applied to cars, but also to other products in Nazi Germany; the "Volksempfänger" radio receiver for instance. On 28 May 1937, the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH was established by the Deutsche Arbeitsfront. It was later renamed "Volkswagenwerk GmbH" on 16 September 1938. Volkswagen began introducing an array of new models after Bernd Pischetsrieder became Volkswagen Group CEO (responsible for all Group brands) in 2002. The fifth generation VW Golf was launched in 2004, came runner-up to the Fiat Panda in the 2004 European Car of the Year, and has spawned several cousins: SEAT Toledo, Škoda Octavia and Audi A3 hatchback ranges, as well as a new mini-MPV, the SEAT Altea. The GTI, a "hot hatchback" performance version of the Golf, boasts a 2.0 L Turbocharged FSI direct injection engine. VW began marketing the Golf under the Rabbit name once again in the U.S. and Canada in June 2006. (The GTI had arrived to North America four months earlier). The fifth-generation Jetta, and the performance version, the GLI, are also available in the United States and Canada. The sixth-generation Passat and the fifth-generation Jetta both debuted in 2005, and VW has announced plans to expand its lineup further by bringing back the Scirocco by 2008. Other models in Wolfgang Bernhard's (Volkswagen brand CEO) "product offensive" include the Tiguan mid-sized SUV in 2008 and a Passat Coupé. In November 2006 Bernd Pischetsrieder announced his resignation as Volkswagen Group CEO, and was replaced by Audi worldwide CEO Martin Winterkorn at the beginning of 2007. Winterkorn is credited with making Audi a challenger to the dominance of BMW and Mercedes, and his design-led strategy has led to Audi being considered one of the most important brands in the world. It remains to be seen how Winterkorn's focus on design shapes the Volkswagen brand's future. Nevertheless, Volkswagen continues to have complicated relations with both unions and shareholders.