Who Owns Volkswagen?

Volkswagen has one of the most tumultuous histories of any car maker, but despite its confusing ownership structure, VW has built itself into a Fortune 500 mainstay.
Written by Matt Nightingale
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
In August 2009, Porsche SE acquired 50.7% of Volkswagen AG’s publicly traded stock, effectively making Porsche SE the owner of Volkswagen.
Translated from German, the name Volkswagen literally means “people’s car”. The idea behind Volkswagen, when it was founded in 1937, was to produce a vehicle that was financially accessible to all German people. Prior to that, cars were a luxury that only 1 in 50 Germans could afford.
Since its inception, Volkswagens have become known for their craftsmanship, affordability, and its ownership over other brands like
. In this article, we'll look back on 85 years of Volkswagen.
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Who owns Volkswagen?

Volkswagen has been a publicly-traded company since the 1960s, so, technically, it is owned by its shareholders. However, the main holder of Volkswagen stocks is Porsche SE, a holding company owned by the Porsche Family of Porsche automaker fame. Controlling 50.7% of Volkswagen stock, Porsche SE is the de facto owner of Volkswagen.
Here’s the confusing part: Volkswagen owns the automaker
. Huh?
Porsche AG is the auto manufacturer known for its flashy high-end sports cars like the Boxster and the Porsche 911. That company is owned by Volkswagen Group. Porsche SE is a separate holding company that owns a controlling interest in Volkswagen Group.

What other makes does Volkswagen own?

Forget the auto industry—Volkswagen Group is one of the largest companies in the world, period, ranking #10 on the 2021 Fortune 500 list.
In addition to producing the iconic VW brand, the carmaking giant also owns a bunch of other car manufacturers. Here’s the full list of car brands owned by Volkswagen: 
  • Audi
  • Bentley
  • Cupra
  • Lamborghini
  • Porsche
  • SEAT
  • Skoda
  • Volkswagen
Volkswagen Group also owns motorcycle maker Ducati, and commercial vehicle makers IC Bus, International, MAN, and Scania.

Where are Volkswagens made?

Volkswagen’s first manufacturing plant was located in Wolfsburg, Germany. In fact, the town was established and built around the Volkswagen factory. In 1938, the first car rolled off the line in Wolfsburg—the KdF-Wagen, aka the Volkswagen Beetle.
These days, Volkswagen has over 70 assembly plants worldwide. Here’s where each of Volkswagen’s most popular models comes from: 
  • VW Atlas
    : Chattanooga assembly plant, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • VW Tiguan: Anting assembly plant, Shanghai, China
  • VW Golf
    : Puebla assembly plant, Puebla, Mexico
  • VW Jetta
    : Taubate assembly plant, Sao Paulo, Brazil
The original Wolfsburg plant now operates as Volkswagen’s global headquarters and still produces many of Volkswagen's most popular makes including the Golf, Touran, and Tiguan. The Wolfsburg plant also produces Volkswagen currywurst, the carmaker's sausage brand, which is available at restaurants in its German factories and in supermarkets across Germany.
Key Takeaway Volkswagen has over 70 assembly plants in countries like China, the US, Mexico, and Brazil. 
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A short history of Volkswagen ownership

Volkswagen’s history is long and somewhat troubled. The company was originally founded in 1937 and owned by the German government, which, at the time, was controlled by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
When World War II concluded, Germany was controlled by the Allied Forces composed of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union. The original Wolfsburg plant fell under the direct control of a British Army officer by the name of Ivan Hirst. In 1949, the company was turned over to the newly-formed West German government and the State of Lower Saxony.
Eleven years later, the German government sold 60% of Volkswagen’s stock to the public, thereby ending government control of Volkswagen. In the years since, Porsche SE has gradually increased its stake in the company, eventually gaining a controlling interest. The State of Lower Saxony still owns 12.9%.

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Some are, yes. But, not exclusively. Volkswagen’s first assembly plant was located in what is now Wolfsburg, Germany. Throughout its 85 years, Volkswagen has expanded production to countries like Brazil, France, India, and the US to name just a few.
Yes and no. The Porsche SE holding company owns a controlling share of Volkswagen Group stock. But, Volkswagen Group owns the Porsche AG automaker. Confusing, right?
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