Volkswagen History: Volkswagen (VW) is the core of Volkswagen Group in Germany and one of the world's largest automobile makers. Volkswagen means "people's cars" in German. The company started in the 1930s and the most famous model, the Volkswagen Beetle, was designed by Ferdinand Porsche under the watchful eye of Adolf Hitler, who wanted an inexpensive car for the working class. Volkswagens entered the U.S. market in 1949 and Volkswagen of America was formed in 1955. North American sales started off slow but a witty advertising campaign in the 1960s coined the term "Volkswagen Beetle" and sales soared. The Volkswagen Beetle name was officially adopted in 1998. Volkswagen introduced the "Thing" in 1978 but safety issues killed it two years later. However the Volkswagen Rabbit, Polo, Golf and Passat were well received. Electrical and engine problems in the 1980s hampered U.S. sales until Motor Trend named the GTI its Car of the Year for 1985. But that wasn't enough and by the early 1990s Volkswagen's sales were dropping again. In 1994 the Volkswagen Concept One car, looking similar to the original Beetle, was a hit but the 2002 Phaeton and Touareg were not. By 2005 Volkswagen was near the bottom in U.S. sales. Then the 2006 Volkswagen Jetta and Passat came on the market and once again sales rose. Volkswagen continues in the American market today.