Among any number of 'import' brands brought to the U.S. prior to World War II, nothing better speaks to the subsequent import invasion in the United States than Volkswagen. Organized in Germany in that divided country's postwar rubble as an independent automaker (since no other carmaker had an interest in its assets or designs), Volkswagen's Beetle became the antidote for all those Americans suffering from Detroit's product excesses or Britain's perceived fragility. Three generations later, and still controlled to a large degree by Porsche heirs, Volkswagen is a huge multinational selling its product in dozens of countries and, operating as the Volkswagen Group, has expanded beyond its core middle-class roots to own, manage and market some of the world's most prestigious brands.
In America, Volkswagen provides a small lineup of cars and crossovers, with production of that lineup centered in Mexico, Germany and the U.S. At present there is no minivan or truck, although importation of a VW pickup has long been rumored. VW's least expensive U.S. car is the base version of the Jetta, while its most-fun-to-drive is the GTI and - if you have the money - the Golf R, offering all-wheel drive and roughly 30% more power than the GTI. And if you still have money, opt for Volkswagen's most expensive model, the Touareg SUV. Most popular is again a tossup, as both the compact Jetta and larger Passat compete for the title. Shopping for a VW diesel? You'll have to reference Autoblog classifieds for a pre-owned example, as VW has no plans - following its diesel emission scandal - to bring diesels back to the U.S.
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