Filed under:  Companies
Comment(s): 1

Wilhelm Karmann GmbH in Osnabrck, Germany is the largest independent motor vehicle company in Germany. Over the course of more than a century, they have undertaken various roles, from design to production and assembly of components, for various automobile manufacturers including Chrysler, Porsche, and Volkswagen.

karmann logo1

Karmann logo.

Some of the most well-known cars produced by Karmann in the 20th century are the VW Beetle cabriolet (1949-1980), and, most closely associated with the Karmann name, the Karmann Ghia. Between 1955 and 1974, 443,482 Karmann Ghias were manufactured, placing their own sports car-style body on the chassis of the Volkswagen Beetle. Later in the 20th century, they assembled the Scirocco, Corrado, and Cabriolet for Volkswagen. As the original company was Karmann Coachworks, a coach builder, Volkswagen models built by Karmann display a small wagon wheel emblem. Karmann also built the Ford Sierra for the American market, sold under the Merkur brand by Lincoln/Mercury dealers.

A significant project because it involved an entirely American car, was Karmann's assembly of complete knock down (CKD) kits in an agreement with American Motors (AMC). In 1968, AMC introduced the Javelin, a new competitor in the U.S. "pony car" segment. AMC did not have a manufacturing subsidiary in Europe, therefore, Karmann assembled the American designed car for distribution in Europe. Karmann built the cars in Rheine with 343 cu in (5.6 L) V8 engines and they were named "Javelin 79-K".

Karmann is best known today for its work on cabriolets. It provides roof-components for many current cabriolet automobiles, such as the Mercedes-Benz CLK, the Renault M←gane CC and the Volkswagen New Beetle Cabrio. Both the headquarters in Osnabrck and the additional facility in Rheine also construct complete vehicles, such as the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet, the Audi A4 Cabrio, the Mercedes-Benz CLK, and the Chrysler Crossfire. A small number of vehicles are also produced in Brazil S ̄o Bernardo do Campo.

Other facilities at Sunderland UK, Puebla Mexico, and Plymouth U.S. are manufacturing roof systems for the Nissan Micra C+C, Volkswagen New Beetle Cabrio, and Pontiac G6, respectively.

A large part of the development of the Chrysler Crossfire was done independently by Karmann, and the vehicle is produced at their Osnabrck facility. Karmann also supplies the top for the third-generation Chrysler Sebring (convertible).

(source: Wikipeida)

ghia logo4.gif

Volkswagen, in the early 1950's, was facing the prospect of selling a small line of "ugly" cars (the Beetle and the Bus) to a more demanding car buying public. VW executives felt it was necessary to introduce an "image" car to reach this new market. Several other car companies were in the same situation, most notably, Chrysler. Chrysler contracted with the Italian styling and coach building firm of Ghia to build a series of "dream" cars. While Chrysler produced some of these dream cars, one car they did not produce would eventually become, you guessed it, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

While Chrysler worked with Ghia, Volkswagen contracted with the German coach builder, Karmann to build their "image" car. Karmann, in need of a design, approached Ghia and somehow the old Chrysler design surfaced and was modified to fit the Beetle floorpan. The VW executives liked what they saw and by August of 1955, the first Volkswagen Karmann Ghias rolled off assembly line in Osnabruck, German as 1956 models.

karmann badge 11

Well known German firm Karmann built thousands of Porsche bodies. Most of the coach builders that Porsche employed to manufacture bodies over the years had trademark badges that were affixed to the lowed right fender.

karmann logo2.gif

Karmann logo.

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia   
Volkswagen Karmann Ghia   1955-1974
Karmann Files for Insolvency   Future Business Viability Exists.
Karmann   Official site.
Advertise on Cartype
Instagram Vimeo Youtube Twitter Facebook
THE "1900's" BOOK.
Each decade seems to have its own stylistic language, and this issue showcases logos, ads, cars, companies and products (and their typographical sensibilities) from the early 1900s.

Jrop Roadside
Car Shipping Companies
Auto Transport Quotes
Vehicle Transportation


Much of the material on this website is copyrighted. Original articles appearing herein are subject to copyright. Please don't copy stuff from the site without asking; it may belong to someone! Any trademarks appearing on this site are the sole property of the registered owners. No endorsement by trademark owners is to be construed. The products, brand names, characters, related slogans and indicia are or may by claimed as trademarks of their respective owners. Every effort has been made whenever possible to credit the sources. The use of such material falls under the Fair Use provisions of intellectual property laws.