Monday, March 9, 2009

1968 Volkswagen 411

On September 19, 2008 forty years have passed since Volkswagen presented the VW 411, at that time the largest and most powerful model, however, some 200 journalists in Wolfsburg. Journalists had put the VW through its 411 meters on the new Volkswagen Ehra-Lessien testing, testing the equipment and vehicle performance. Volkswagen built 367,728 units until production ceased in July 1974 and 416 of these are registered as old-timers (since September 2008).

The ads claimed there had never been a VW like this before. And they were very good. This was the first model with a unibody, a four-door option, more space than any other Volkswagen and a wheelbase longer than the Volkswagen Beetle. A new design, powerful, 68 HP air-cooled boxer engine of 1.6 liters mounted at the rear of the VW 411 was robust enough for long journeys, even at a maximum speed of 145 km / h. The innovative sporty chassis with MacPherson Strut front suspension and rear suspension with double joint axles also used in the Porsche 911 made sure the car held the road well. The midsize sedan highlighted "the luxury of a luxury car." Available with a normal or an L equipment line, the Wolfsburg Biggie "offered customers space and comfort, enhanced safety, a total of 570 liters of luggage space front and rear and an optional automatic transmission.

The story of what is known as the Type 4 began in 1962 as development project EA 142. The economics of mass production, which began in February 1967, is based on sales of 822,500 vehicles over a period of four years with a daily production of 1,000 units. The price of the VW 411 ranged from 7770 to 9285 DM.

Compared with 1500/1600, Volkswagen launched in 1961, the VW 411 was noticeably larger and better equipped. Volkswagen to set up the new vehicle in the upper midsize segment which was beyond the scope of the Beetle and Type 3, and expand the market position in the long term by broadening the range of models. For this reason, the publicity concentrated on technical innovations and the high level of comfort as well as highlighting typical Volkswagen characteristics such as quality, efficiency and service.

In the period prior to market launch on October 5, 1968, dealers, press and customers responded positively to the Volkswagen 411. Once the car has reached the market, problems with the engine in the first models delivered and an increasingly negative press for the sale of braking. The most common customer complaints related to noise from the engine and the driving engine of the limited production and what was perceived as an unaesthetic front end. Since over 80% of VW 411 buyers and customers of Volkswagen, the vehicle is not to win new customer groups. As a result of these marketing problems, could not be remedied by sales incentives either, lowering the production of Volkswagen sporadically to 75 vehicles per day.

The company introduced an improved version, the VW 411 E, for the 1970 model year. Electronic fuel injection boosted engine output to 80 hp and the front end, which has the nickname of the "Nasenbär" (coati), received a facelift. VW 411 E Variant, provided even more space for luggage, and this estate version was soon selling twice as well as the saloon door. Type 4 exports to the U.S. began in 1971, and the car sold better than expected there, soon accounting for roughly 40% of total sales. Another new and improved model called the VW 412 followed in 1972. Type of production of 4 in the Wolfsburg plant continued until 1973, when the production line was relocated to Salzgitter, and production of Volkswagen of South Africa began in 1969.

Even though the VW 411/412 did not break any sales model, however, has an important role in the history of Volkswagen, as the last large series model with air cooling and a rear-mounted engine. A 1966 prototype is on display in Automuseum Wolfsburg.


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