VOLKSWAGEN CANADA LTD. 1920 Eglinton Avenue
East, Scarborough, Ontario.
The automobile that solved the problem of suburban distances and thus enabled people to live in the new and modestly priced housing development, one time inaccessible and almost country places, has itself become something of a problem--an increasingly expensive necessity. And that is perhaps the secret of Volkswagen success; that it is a car designed for democratic tastes and needs, a car without pretensions which does a workman-like job. Its purchase represents an initial saving and its maintenance a discount that accumulates with every mile it travels, and, as any car driver will testify, it travels with the best. Why not with a maximum of 72-74 miles per hour?
History--That began when the Volkswagen plant in the town of Wolfsburg, Germany, was built in 1938. The first cars rolled of the assembly line in 1940. In 1945 there were 711; in 1950, 90,038; and in 1957, 470,585. Of the present 2,125 daily quota, more than half are exported. Volkswagen employs 41,000 of the 50,000 citizens of Wolfsburg,
The Volkswagen in Canada--Volkswagen Products were seen in Canada for the first time at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1952 and were accepted enthusiastically. That, however, is not always a reliable criterion, but by 1955 sales were on a basis that warranted the building of the fine Volkswagen plant on a 32-acre site on Scarboro's Golden Mile. To this, a 60,000 square foot building with administration, showrooms, service, repairs and parts, an addition of 60,000 feet was built in 1957, with storage for $4,000,000 of parts, and greatly increased facilities including a second cafeteria for employees.
Dealer Organizations--Such offer the best evidence of car popularity and today there are 300 Volkswagen dealers across Canada, each with complete repair facilities and an ample stock of parts. They also handle the installation of new or reconstructed motors, a changeover that can be handled in 15 minutes if necessary. There is also a big repair department at the "Golden Mile" organization where cars are overhauled and repainted in modern, quick-drying ovens, and go back to the owners literally as good as new.
Ernployees--Now 350 and increasing, they have a medical, surgical and hospitalization plan and, with their dependants, medical treatment free of charge by the company physician. What with meals at cost and other amenities, Volkswagen is a good place to work.
Models--These include Custom, Deluxe (plain and sliding roofs), a convertible and the Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia with a body by the Italian designer Ghia.
Commercial Vehicles--These, with generous load capacity, lend themselves to a variety of uses, including in Canada, as delivery vans, pick-up trucks, school buses and portable broadcasting units. An enterprising independent has designed a "kit" that changes a van into a comfortable travelling home, but that will not surprise anyone who has examined the commercial units.
Perforniance--The car has a reputation of 75,000 miles without a major repair, and what better testimony can there be than the 300 gold watches presented to date to customers who have driven the Volkswagen 60,000 miles without a major repair, not to count those who did not, for one reason or another, collect.
Sales--Canada, with a present importation quota from the main plant of 25,000 cars per year now ranks second among the company's overseas markets. The Volkswagen is distributed in 100 countries. Ireland, Australia, Belgium and Mexico have their own assembly plants supplied directly from Wolfsburg. Organizations in the United States, Canada, Brazil and South Africa are subsidiaries.
Administration--Professor Dr. Ing H.C. Heinz Nordhoff is the chief executive of the company in Germany. Under his rnanagement production increased from 10,000 cars to nearly 500,000 in a decade. For his contribution to the rebuilding of West Germany economy he has had many honours conferred on him, including the highest of the German Republic.
Werner Jansen, with an established reputation as a highly successful executive, joined Volkswagen as chief executive in Canada in 1952. Under his direction, Volkswagen Canada Ltd., has become the second largest market for Volkswagen products.
This essay was written in c 1959. It was copied from the Canadian Register of Commerce & Industry held in the Western Libraries at the University of Western Ontario. The original article should be consulted since this copy may contain some errors. The text and/or the images are being made available to researchers for scholarly purposes. They should not be used for commercial gain without the permission of the author or publisher.
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