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Volkswagen's product portfolio may be as extensive these days as any other carmaker in the business. But if you still think of the original Beetle as synonymous with the brand, that's probably because a) you're old and b) the Beetle was the company's only product until the mid-50s.

Volkswagen AG has announced it will be establishing a new manufacturing unit in Osnabrueck, located in VW's home state of Lower Saxony, Germany. Interestingly enough, VW will be purchasing the land, equipment, and machinery formerly owned by Karmann -- the coachbuilder and convertible roof specialists who manufactured the classic Beetle-based Karmann Ghia coupe (Karmann filed for bankruptcy protection in April, and has been struggling since).

German coachbuilder Karmann has been in trouble since before the global economy caught its version of the swine flu, and from a workforce of 5,000 the company is down to 1,800. A huge order for VW electric vehicles was meant to keep the company going while it sorted out its issues, but even that won't be enough, so now VW is looking at buying the entire company.

DuraCar Quicc! Diva - Click above for high-res image gallery

Karmann throughout the years - Click above for high-res image gallery

German coachbuilder Karmann will introduce an all-new electric car, codeveloped with utility company Oldenburg Energy Group (EWE) at the next Hannover auto fair. The model is called the E3 Limousine, but the vehicle is really a crossover with classic lines and full interior versatility. According to EWE CEO Werner Brinker, "Electric cars are the future. This is the reason why we're teaming with Karmann, a company with more than one hundred years of car building experience, to develop and impleme

It seems as though Karmann won't let a little thing like bankruptcy get in the way of its plans to move forward with new electro-car work. As part of a venture undertaken with German energy and communications company the Oldenburg Energy Group (EWE), the iconic maker of Ghias, Crossfires and cabriolets has penned a new design that will be unveiled at the Hannover Messe 2009 (Hanover Trade Fair) next week. Called the E3, the vehicle will sport an EWE nameplate and is being described as a "sports-

The economy has caught up with Karmann, the independent German builder whose name was most famously applied to Volkswagen's '50s roadster, forcing it to file for insolvency. Most recently the company's 3,470 workers were assembling Audi A4 and Mercedes CLK convertibles. Over its 108-year history the brand has done work for a host of marques, building Porsche bodies, the Chrysler Crossfire, the roof system for the Pontiac G6 and Nissan Micra, and the European version of the AMC Javelin. Declining

Click above for high-res gallery of the DuraCar Quicc! DiVa

German coachbuilder Karmann could be on the block soon. The company, a longtime supplier to German automakers, has been having trouble getting contracts lately. The family that owns the company is reportedly considering all options, and some talks with potential buyers have already taken place. No decision about whom to sell to has been made yet, but within a month Karmann may decide which suitor's offer to accept. The convertible roof business is going well for Karmann, but deals to assemble ve

With sales of Aston Martin's existing sports and GT lineup continuing at a strong clip, the question of where to build the new Rapide four-door becomes more problematic. For a company that is still relatively low-volume (7,000 cars last year) like Aston, investing in tooling for more capacity is difficult. That's where contract builders come to the rescue. Aston is reportedly talking to Pininfarina, Karmann, Magna-Steyr and Valmet about assembling the new car, with a decision due by the end of t

After five years of stagnant sales, Chrysler may finally be killing off its latest attempt at a sports coupe. According to AutoTelegraaf, production of the Crossfire is likely to end sometime this summer, due in part by the model's slow sales, as well as the production contract with Karmann ending after a five-year term.