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Volkswagen celebrated a milestone anniversary on the 31st of August 2016 reaching its 65th year of South African Volkswagen production. For 65 years Volkswagen has been known as not only the people's car but also the South African people's car. With an iconic range of stylish models supported by quality German engineering, Volkswagen is more than a car brand, it is an ethos of sustainable mobility with a people orientated approach. The history of Volkswagen in South Africa alone is one which boasts the manufacture of over 3.4 million vehicles!
Volkswagens earliest days in South Africa were humble. While the Uitenhage factory remains the heart of South African Volkswagen vehicle production line, it produced 12 Studebakers a day. These days the factory is able to produce up to 600 cars a day! As a testament to the South African Volkswagen factory's credibility, it has been awarded numerous export orders. Currently South Africa's top selling passenger models, the Polo and the Polo Vivo, are made here for local and international markets.
More than its German engineering and South African heart, Volkswagen is also a company that looks to the future. Over and above being the largest private sector employer in the Eastern Cape, Volkswagen is the largest German investment in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the spirit of sustainability, Volkswagen also continues to invest in the future of South Africa.
One doesn't need to live in Nelson Mandela Bay or work for Volkswagen to see how the brand has impacted the lives of ordinary people. One such person is Richard Wiley. As a member of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists, Richard's automobile fixation comes as no surprise and nor does his loyalty to Volkswagen. Throughout his life, his family have not only owned Volkswagen vehicles but also loved them and drawn immense pleasure from taking care of them.
The first Volkswagen Richard Wiley's family owned was a classic black 1951 split window Beetle. This car marked the beginning of their Volkswagen obsession. It rocked 25 HP and a 1131cc engine. This Beetle was followed by at least five others which his father invested in, in varying shades, models and engine sizes. Owing to his love of Beetles, Richard became proficient in maintaining them and managed to make some extra pocket money by servicing and repairing them.
Beetles didn't rise to fame simply for their unique shape and styling. It was their affordability and most importantly their reliability which ultimately clinched the deal. Richards Wiley's little varsity run-around was a Uitenhage built 1968 1500 Beetle. It travelled many thousands of kilometres, without letting him down once. Owning various Beetles subsequently, by 1980 Richard decided to invest in a more modern vehicle and thus began his love affair with Volkswagen Golfs.
With so much investment in our country, coupled with the incredible reliability of the vehicles, it is easy to see how people become Volkswagen fanatics. At the centre of this company are exceptional people who are dedicated to building, selling and maintaining these German engineered vehicles for the long haul. Having served many generations, Volkswagen will continue to serve you.