Vol. 5 Num 351 Wed. May 25, 2005  

Hundred millionth Volkswagen rolled off

The 100 millionth Volkswagen rolled off a German assembly line on Tuesday, taking the brand into an elite of four car companies whose output has stretched into nine digits, Europe's biggest carmaker said. The Touran compact van with a silver metallic paint job that set the milestone at VW's headquarters in Wolfsburg is only distantly related to the humble Volkswagen Beetle that became a global icon of affordable mobility after World War II.

Volkswagen -- the name means "people's car" in German -- made just 1,800 Beetles in 1945, but eventually produced 21.5 million of the bug-shaped, bug-eyed vehicles.

Output of the VW Golf, which became the company's subsequent workhorse, overtook the Beetle in 2002 and has hit 23 million. VW has also made 13 million Passats and 9 million Polos.