What Companies Does Volkswagen Own?

In this article we are going to look more closely at the Volkswagen Group, their history and that of the companies who are now under the Volkswagen Group's umbrella.

What Is the Volkswagen Group?

Volkswagen AG or as they are known internationally the Volkswagen Group are a German based multinational automotive manufacturer. They are headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany and are known for designing, manufacturing and distributing both passenger and commercial vehicles, motorcycles, engines and turbomachinery.

Over the decades since the group's inception they have gradually bought into or purchased outright several other automotive based companies Their holdings have allowed them to branch out into various other markets around the world.


Audi itself traces its roots back to the late 1890s when August Horch established his first company. Years later after company mergers, disagreements with partners and a forced name change as a result of a lawsuit Horch formed Audi.

As Audi was a German based company it is not surprising that in 1964 Volkswagen procured a 50% share in the company including an interest in the company's most recent manufacturing plant in Ingolstadt. In 1966 Volkswagen took full control of Ingolstadt using spare space there to turn out 60,000 VW Beetles.


Volkswagen may not be immediately associated with motorcycles but they do have an interest through their ownership of Ducati. Founded in 1926 by Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his three sons, they initially made vacuum tubes, condensers and other radio parts.

They eventually entered the automotive world focusing on motorcycles which after many years of successful production brought them to the attention of Audi. It was in April of 2012 that Audi announced the purchase of Ducati for $1.2 billion bringing the company ultimately under the Volkswagen Group umbrella.


Known today for having made the world's fastest and most expensive road car the Veyron Bugatti’s roots date back to 1909. A little less than 90 years later they became part of the Volkswagen Group. In 2000 Volkswagen decided to make the Ettore Bugatti Guesthouse the official headquarters for VW itself.

It was under Volkswagen that Bugatti decided to set themselves the challenge of making the world's most powerful road car. The Veyron is a super car with an 8-liter W-16 engine producing 1,200 horsepower.


Established as a luxury car manufacturer since 1919 Bentley was purchased in 1931 by fellow luxury car manufacturers Rolls Royce. Bentley remained its own brand, however, and in 1997 Rolls Royce went up for sale with BMW and Volkswagen being the chief bidders.

Volkswagen won most of the rights including Bentley but BMW did gain control of the Rolls Royce name and logo. It would not be until 2003 that Volkswagen got complete ownership of Bentley and they could finally start producing cars under the Bentley name.


Founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini in 1963 this Italian based company was set up as a competitor to Ferrari. Like Ferrari they specialized in high end performance sports cars and did very well for the first decade.

In 1973 a global financial shutdown created problems for Lamborghini who very quickly started to have issues. In 1978 the company filed for bankruptcy which led to a string of new ownerships until in 1987 they were in the hands of Chrysler.

It was in 1998 that Volkswagen Group purchased and took over Lamborghini. The company was placed under Audi management and has thrived in the luxury sports car market ever since.


It may not be commonly known but Porsche, a German car manufacturer, had a hand in the founding of Volkswagen. The company's founder Ferdinand Porsche was instrumental in the design of the Volkswagen Beetle which of course was integral to the brand.

Porsche itself was founded in 1931 and they played a big role in building tanks during WWII. Over the years Porsche and Volkswagen have maintained a close working relationship eventually leading to a merger in 2009. Just a few years later in 2015 Volkswagen had taken a majority shareholder position in Porsche so subsequently became the owners.


This Spanish based manufacturer arose in the 1950s and 1960s due to the country's lack of automotive options. Years of wars and hardships had left the general populace poor meaning that major car manufacturers did not tend to try and break into the local market.

Aside from a few local luxury manufacturers who catered to the select individuals who had the money in Spain there were no reasonably priced options. This is how SEAT came to prominence and how they ultimately thrived in the Spanish market.

During the 1980s the connection between Volkswagen and SEAT began to form thanks to several management partnerships. It was in 1986 that Volkswagen finally managed to increase their stake in SEAT to 51% making it the major stakeholder. This stake would further increase over subsequent years until in 1990 they finally owned SEAT completely.


The company that would eventually become SKODA was founded in 1896 initially making velocipede bicycles. This Czech motor company was soon making engine powered motorcycles known as motocyclettes.

Years of war saw times of hardship for the Czech Republic and of course SKODA but they came through building their affordable cars and selling them in over 100 countries. Eventually in 1991 Volkswagen started to take notice of this growing Czech manufacturer.

In 1991 Volkswagen purchased a 30% share in the company which by 1994 had increased to 60.3% and then 70% by the following year. Eventually by the year 2000 Volkswagen owned SKODA outright.


MAN is a German based company which started out in 1758 as an ironworks with interests in mining and iron production. It would not be until 1908 that the company started to develop an interest in mechanical engineering and renamed themselves Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nürnberg AG (MAN).

Focusing on trucks and other heavy equipment the company did well for many decades until the 1982 oil crisis which almost ruined them. They struggled through and by 1986 they were in partnership with Force Motors and selling their trucks in India.

In 2011 Volkswagen took an interest in MAN purchasing a 55.9 % stake and increasing that to 73% a year later.


CUPRA is the luxury division of SEAT which became its own brand. Founded in 1995 it concentrates on creating performance versions of existing SEAT models. It became part of Volkswagen when VW purchased controlling shares of SEAT in 1986 before finally taking complete control in 1990.


It should seem obvious that Volkswagen Group owns Volkswagen but we should still make mention of it. Founded in Germany in 1937 as a government sanctioned venture Hitler himself had a hand in its founding. Despite these dubious beginnings and tough times during WWII Volkswagen eventually ended up in the hands of the British.

Translating as “people's car" it was intended as a project to allow normal citizens to be able to afford an automobile. It has today become a global powerhouse sold worldwide.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

This part of the Volkswagen Group was founded in 1995 and is found in many countries around the world. They focus on small buses and other commercial vehicles depending on location. This is a growing part of the Volkswagen Group and is its own branch of the company.


As of January 2023 the above list is accurate regarding the major companies owned by Volkswagen. Although they have not made a major company purchase in a few years it does not mean they will not expand further.

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