Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. It is the biggest German automaker and the second largest automaker in the world.
Volkswagen was originally founded in 1937 by the Nazi trade union, the German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront), in an attempt to produce a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children at 100 km/h (62 mph). Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler wanted his German citizens to have the same access to a car as the Americans.From 1948, after WW II, VW – most notable its “Beetle” model - became a symbol of West Germany’s economic rise.
China has long been the top market for the world's carmakers - but now the coronavirus outbreak is making its presence felt on balance sheets. The likes of Volkswagen and Daimler make between 30 and 40 percent of their global sales in China alone. That makes German carmakers and their suppliers among the most exposed in Europe to the outbreak.
Volkswagen is defending its car factory in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, saying all of its workers there have contracts and that it regularly monitors working conditions. Leaked documents show that the government maintiains detention camps in the region to repress Muslim minorities. Other German companies are also under fire by human rights groups.
VW is under pressure for working with the Chinese government in Xinjiang after evidence of human rights abuses against Uighurs in the region. Meanwhile, the German and US governments urged China to uphold human rights.