In the early 1930s, cars in Europe were still a luxury for the rich. But in 1933 Dr. Ferdinand Porsche launched the People’s Car: Volkswagen. Its purpose was to enhance people’s lives through great engineering that offered everyone an accessible, high-quality car. The purpose behind the People’s Car resonated throughout the 20th century, and Volkswagen grew and prospered.
Then, in 2007, something changed. The Volkswagen leadership set a new overarching goal for the company: to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018. And although the company reached that goal three years early, no one can doubt now — in light of the emissions scandal — that in losing
its greater purpose, Volkswagen ended up losing much more than its way.
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Published by Harvard Business Review