blog.asurroca.com my personal blog

June 1, 2008

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (What’s In A Name?)

Filed under: business,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:59 am

I was thinking about the name of the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia the other day. Surely, most people don’t puzzle over corporate nomenclature, but I hardly think it’s uncommon for a consummate Volkswagen enthusiast to do. The name Karmann Ghia rolls of the tip of one’s tongue in the same way as the term fahrvergn├â┬╝gen, but thanks to the model’s fame, folks let that side. So, what’s in a name?

The makeup of the name Volkswagen Karmann Ghia is logical enough it’s almost boring. The vehicle was the combination of the expertise of three separate companies: Volkswagen provided the Beetle-based mechanicals, German coach-builder Wilhelm Karmann GmbH created the convertible top and built the vehicle, and Italian automobile design firm Carrozzeria Ghia SpA designed it. And there you have it: The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia comes from the names of each of the three companies that had a hand in creating it.

Type 34 Karmann Ghia

The way the model came to be made by three separate companies is a story of outsourcing. In fact, for such a classic vehicle, it’s almost embarrassing, and a little funny. In short: Volkswagen needed a sports car, so they outsourced its construction to Karmann, who in turn outsourced its design to Ghia, who used a design they had lying around.

The Karmann Ghia isn’t the only model Karmann built for Volkswagen. They also built all generations of the Golf-based convertible (Cabrio in the US); both of the Karmann Ghia’s successors, the Scirocco and the Corrado; and all Beetle convertibles, including the New Beetle Convertible (the convertible top itself, not the entire vehicle). The New Beetle Convertible is the only current Volkswagen/Karmann-made model.

On a last note, it’s fortunate that the nomenclature that begot the Karman Ghia name does not include OEM suppliers. I’m not sure the Volkswagen Hella Bosche Continental makes as good a vehicle name as the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

1 Comment

  1. The name was just a matter of random (chaos theory) that just fit.

    Comment by evan martinez — June 1, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

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