If VOLKSWAGEN GROUP ITALIA S.P.A., the Italian subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group (and distributor of Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA, motor vehicles and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles), is a successful commercial operation, then a large part of the credit belongs to Gerhard Richard Gumpert, founder and first president of the company, named “Autogerma S.p.A”. Arriving in Italy in 1940 as legation secretary at the German Embassy, he fell so much in love with our Country and its people, that he firstly lavished the population stricken by war and then established a commercial activity.
The history of VOLKSWAGEN GROUP ITALIA S.P.A.
In 1951 Gumpert imported the first Volkswagens, and in 1954, confirming the contract as general importer of Volkswagen motor vehicles to Italy, he founded Autogerma. Objective: selling the Beetle, the only model produced at that time by the Wolfsburg firm.
However, convinced that assistance above all valued higher than sales, Gumpert established a proper commercial and assistance network, personally searching for and selecting – one by one – the first dealerships, involving long trips from one end of the peninsula to the other.
The mid ‘60s saw two important steps of expansion for Autogerma, the establishment of the central spare parts warehouse in Verona in 1965 and, the confirmation of the contract as general importer of Audi NSU motor vehicles into Italy in 1966.
In the following years, the company saw determined growth and with the beginning of the ‘70s other innovations animated the life of Autogerma. Firstly, in 1973 there was the conversion to an incorporated company, the Italian importer of Volkswagen, Audi, NSU and Porsche. Then the following year, there was the relocation from Bologna to Verona and the unification of the Volkswagen and Audi commercial networks.
With the beginning of the ‘80s sales figures had begun to reach record levels. Actually, already in 1970, Autogerma had delivered 81,997 vehicles in Italy, but the record was in 1981 for the 100,000 Volkswagen and Audi units sold within that year. In 1985 the company became the 100% wholly owned Italian subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, whilst rising sales led to another record in 1989: 200,000 Volkswagen and Audi cars sold, with a market share of 8.8%.
In 1990, the Autogerma market share exceeded 10% (241,718 vehicles) for the first time and the following year, which also saw the establishment of the subsidiary Fingerma (Financial Services, today renamed as Volkswagen Bank), the number of vehicles sold was 250,000 with a market share of 10.3%. The establishment of the subsidiary company Škoda Italia and the start of construction work on the new head-quarters characterised 1992, together with the marketing of over 300,000 Volkswagen, Škoda and Audi vehicles (12.3% of the market).
Two years later, there were other, more important events, for Autogerma. Following relocation to the new headquarters, which also includes the large Spare Parts Distribution Centre with 51,000 square metres of space, the companies Škoda Italia and SEAT Italia were incorporated.
In 1996 the company achieved ISO 9002 certification.
Since January 1st 2007, Autogerma has changed its name with a stronger new one: VOLKSWAGEN GROUP ITALIA S.P.A.. This name was conceived to fully represent the International dimension of a Company that, throughout fifty years of history, achieved several successes, such as the rise of sales, of market share and the employment growth, with over 900 employees in 2006. The Company based in Verona, belonging to Volkswagen Group AG, the first automobile brand in Europe and the fifth worldwide, presents itself with the new name as an attractive one where to start a career in the automotive branch.