Volkswagen South Africa was established in Uitenhage in 1946. Uitenhage is a small industrial town that is located on the outskirts of the city of Port Elizabeth, on the Garden Route, in the Eastern Cape. The very first Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the production line on 31 August 1951 and this little car was the beginning to a successful reign within the South African vehicle industry. Volkswagen South Africa’s market share has doubled since the 1980’s, and has become a major vehicle manufacturer within South Africa.
Volkswagen South Africa celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2001, and watched with pride as a Golf 4 1.6 came rolling down the line. It would be their 100 000th export vehicle. Volkswagen South Africa has remained true to the public demand and the changing of the times, with the launching of new vehicles and constantly upgrading performance and accessories. Today, Volkswagen South Africa can proudly state that they are indeed the manufacturers of the people’s cars, as the majority of vehicles sold within South Africa, are Volkswagens.
With such a successful record, it was only appropriate that the Volkswagen AutoPavillion opened its doors in March 2004. The Volkswagen AutoPavillion is situated adjacent to the main entrance of Volkswagen South Africa in Uitenhage, and the building itself is as modern and technologically advanced as its counterparts in Wolfburg (Autostadt) and the Audi Museum (Ingolstadt – Germany). Keeping up with the trends, whilst keeping the portrayal of Volkswagen South Africa’s history in mind, the thirteen million rand AutoPavillion is a project that Volkswagen and the people of Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth can be proud of.
The Volkswagen AutoPavillion showcases a multitude of vehicles that range from the first Beetle that was available in South Africa in 1951 to the last Beetle that was manufactured in 1979, priceless historical vehicles and concept cars. The Volkswagen AutoPavillion also features video presentations, interactive facilities and slide shows. Exhibits also provide information in regard to their display’s history and basic facts, which enables the public to be educated at their own pace. There is a boutique available for visitors to purchase branded merchandise and refreshments. Factory tours are available to the public, and the tours leave from the AutoPavillion and return there.
Any Volkswagen enthusiast, or even vehicle enthusiast for that matter will thoroughly enjoy their experience at the Volkswagen AutoPavillion, as there is something for everyone. The older guests will remember the memories they made in their Volkswagens and the younger visitors get to realise how technology and vehicles in general have improved and grown over the years, and get to dream about the Volkswagen they will drive one day.