Volkswagen means ‘People’s car’ in German. The history of the company is tied with Adolf Hitler.
Before the rise of Hitler, the German economy was in a very bad shape; as a result people couldn’t afford to buy cars. In 1933, Hitler raised the idea of an inexpensive car in the Auto show.In 1934, Ferdinand Porsche met with Hitler to design the car. Hitler gave him all the specifications of the car and Porsche promised to deliver the design. In 1937, the Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH was created (it became simply Volkswagenwerk GmbH a year later). In 1938, Hitler opened a state funded Volkswagen factory in Walburg. It was suppose to produce commercial cars, but it was used to churn out military cars. It was only later found that Hitler had intended to use the Porsche car as a military vehicle only, which could carry 3 men and a machine gun. After the WWII, Britishers took over the company. They renamed the car as Beetle.
Surprisingly all the car makers like Fiat and Ford declined to take ‘free control’ of the Volkswagen factory. So, it was returned to the German government, and went on to become one of the world’s bestselling cars ever. The first logo was designed by Franz Xavier Reimspiess, a Porsche employee during an office logo design competition. The main part of the logo hasn’t changed much, but understandably after the WWII, they got rid of the design around the circle which seems to be inspired from the Nazi flag. The colors that were added in 2000, to the logo which was built after WWII, it depicts a positive change in the company and the ability to adapt to the new millennium.
German engineer August Horch, who used to work for Karl Benz, founded his own automobile company A. Horch & Cie in 1899. A decade later, he was forced out of his own company and set up a new company in another town and continued using the Horch brand. His former partners sued him, and August Horch was forced to look for a new name. When Horch was talking to his business partner Franz Fikentscher at Franz’s apartment, Franz’s son came up with the name Audi, And so Audiwerke GmbH was born in 1910. In 1932, four car makers Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer merged to form Auto Union. The logo of Auto Union, four interlinked rings that would later become the modern Audi logo, was used only in racing cars – the four factories continued to produce cars under their own names and emblems.
The Mercedes-Benz was formed by the merger of two car companies – DMG (Daimler-Motored-Gesellschaft, founded by Gottlieb Daimler) and Benz & Cie, founded by Karl Benz. Both the companies were similar in their work and were situated in close proximity.It was after the World War I, when the German economy was shattered, that both these companies decided to from a syndicate in 1924, and then finally merge in 1926, called Diamler-Benz.In 1902, the logo for Mercedes was nothing more than the simple company name. However, it was changed to a 3 pointed star in 1909. The origin of this star came from a postcard by Diamler, where he had drawn a 3 pointed star which represented ‘making vehicles in land water and sky’.After 1926, a new symbol for Mercedes-Benz came into picture, where the original logo of both the companies was merged into one. It combined the 3 pointed star of Mercedes and the laurel wreath of Benz.Over the years, the symbol has been improved vastly in design and simplicity. It has been recognized as a symbol representing luxury and top tier cars.