When people talk about Volkswagen, the first thing that usually pops up in their mind is the ever-popular Type 1 or Beetle model. The German-based car manufacturing company first entered the scene during the late 1930's when Adolf Hitler asked Ferdinand Porsche Sr. to design an automobile that would be more accessible to the common man. The result was the very first Beetle (known that time as the KdF-Wagen), which despite only having less than 200 parts, served as Volkswagen's foundation throughout its history.
After the Second World War, the company fell into disarray but bounced back when British Army Major Ivan Hirst took over the felled factory. This came after American forces handed control over to the British. The Beetle was once again put to production despite the damage brought on by the war, with the Wolfsburg factory producing around 1000 cars per month.
As Germany started recovering from the aftermath of WWII, Volkswagen would further grow and break into foreign markets, most notably that of the US automotive industry. Volkswagen also ventured on other projects, releasing the Type 2 or Transporter, a van based on the design of the Beetle. Despite the shaky start, the Type 2 and the Beetle became the front runners for Volkswagen throughout the 1960s to the 1970s with Volkswagen releasing updated versions periodically. The mid-60s was also the time that Volkswagen started acquiring different subsidiaries, effectively making it the Volkswagen Group.
From the 1970s and onward Volkswagen has also released several other models like the Golf, Polo and the Passat with varying degrees of success and with the Golf as its mainstay model. It wasn't until 1998 that Volkswagen decided to go back to its roots, releasing the New Beetle, a design which was based on the Golf chassis but retained some similarities to the original, providing a huge boosts to the brand up to the present.
Much of Volkswagen's prominence can easily be attributed to the staying power of their first model, the Beetle. Originally an economy vehicle, the classic Type 1 sported an air-cooled engine, making it easily customizable and came with durable and easily repairable parts.
The use of VW Parts are not limited to the Beetle alone, as other companies have collaborated with Volkswagen or used Volkswagen Auto Parts and components to produce their cars, like the Porsche 914 and 914-6 and the Porsche 356.
VW Parts were also provided for a series commercial trucks under the joint venture between the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and MAN AG, whose production was from 1979 to 1993.
Finally, other industries also found use for VW Parts, specifically the Volkswagen air cooled engine, which found action on many experimental airplanes during the 60's. In Australia, the engine was used in rather odd ways, powering a ski lift for the Thredbo ski resort in New South Wales, and also modified as an air-compressor for some remote mining communities.