The auto industry has transformed the world, not only in the way that we get from one place to another but also in how the companies themselves operate. An industry that once had dozens of brands has slowly matured, and today the global auto market is dominated by a handful of companies.
This includes the Volkswagen Group, which started in Germany in 1937. Beginning as a pet project of the German government of that time, the company has grown into not only the largest automaker in the world. It also owns a stable of brands, including Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, and even Lamborghini.
In fact, the company is one of the biggest companies in the world, and, in 2019, had revenues of close to $300 billion. If it were a country, it would have an economy larger than Chile’s and slightly smaller than Egypt’s – not quite Apple territory but the company number 23 on the Forbes global 2000 list.
Even though the companies have the same owners, it does not mean that a Volkswagen owner can get their car serviced at their local Lamborghini dealer. In fact, the brands tend to operate independently of each other, with the exception of some standard components and, in some cases, shared chassis.
As such, you will want to check the warranty information on the Porsche or Audi or Volkswagen when you purchase your car so that you know where you can get it serviced when you buy it and more on Volkswagen extended warranty cost can be learned here.
Beyond differences in warranty coverage and service, you will also want to keep in mind that spare parts for your Volkswagen might differ from an Audi – even if the two cars share the same chassis. For those who remember, this is similar to the days when Ford and General Motors had multiple brands under their umbrella, even though some Ford and Mercuries or Chevys and Buicks looked the same.
Back to the Volkswagen story, the one interesting tidbit is that the Porsche-Piech family of Austria are the majority owners of Volkswagen. That is correct, Porsche (family) owns Volkswagen, which owns Porsche.
How did this happen? In the early 2000s, the Porsche family started increasing its stake in Volkswagen, and by 2006, the family-owned roughly one-quarter of the company. Under German law, this triggered the process to give the family control of the company – assuming no other group held a more substantial stake.
By 2008, the family had increased its position to more than 42 percent of Volkswagen, and they held the options on another 31 percent. This gave Porsche near-complete control in the company, even though the German government refused to sell its share.
While this created a frenzy in the stock market while the takeover happened, the share price of the company has since stabilized, and today Volkswagen, its associated companies, make up the most significant automobile group in the world.
Beyond the high-profile brands previously names, the VW Group also owns Spanish carmaker SEAT, the Czech carmaker Skoda, truck makers MAN, and Scania, as well as Ducati. The company also operates joint ventures in Malaysia and China.
As you can see, Volkswagen is a massive global operation, and the supply chain needed to assemble and deliver vehicles to drivers around the world is hugely complex. This is part of the reason why some models share components. An example of this is that the Audi R8 V10 has the same engine as the Lamborghini Huracan.
What does this mean for the car enthusiast? Well, it depends on whether you are a fan of Volkswagen, and its associated brands, or not. If you are, then having all the brands under one roof might make the trip to your local card dealer much more exciting.
However, most of us who appreciate cars are more interested in the vehicle rather than the badge on the hood or the corporate parent. We are driving by the lines, the excitement of the hurdling down the highway with hundreds of horsepower at our call.
Either way, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi are all related by common ownership and, to a lesser extent, standard components. However, each brand is meant for different budgets and driving experiences.
Which one is right for you? That answer depends on what you are looking for in your car. Is it an engineering marvel, or is it a tool to help you go from A to B and back again?