News - Trucks

Learn more about VW and MAN trucks

40 years ago, the first Volkswagen trucks arrived

March 10 2021
  •  Developed in Brazil and by Brazilian engineers in record time.
  • From the beginning in 1981 with just two models, today around 65 VWCO products are offered to 30 countries.


Exactly 40 years ago, on March 10, they left factory 4 in São Bernardo do Campo (SP), on their way to the newly created network of authorized Volkswagen Caminhões dealers, the first models of the brand developed and manufactured in Brazil. The VW 11.130 and VW 13.130, with a technology booth coming from Europe, were conceived in just two years by a Brazilian team of engineers and technicians, quickly conquering the country's streets and roads.

The products brought to Brazil a great innovation for the time: the advanced cabin, popularly known as "flat face", in a market dominated by vehicles equipped with a conventional front and with the engine positioned in front of the driver. Volkswagen's debut, facing brands already established in the country, also represented a milestone for the commercial vehicle industry. Subsequently, the first six-ton light models were launched in 1982.

Volkswagen Caminhões was created in February 1981, and originated from the national subsidiary of Chrysler, acquired in July 1979 by the Volkswagen Group. Shortly after the announcement of the change of its corporate name, the automaker began testing the first prototypes of trucks in São Bernardo do Campo, with monitoring by the Group's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Simple and robust

The Brazilian Volkswagen novelties were simple and robust: in the VW 11.130, MWM diesel engine, five-speed gearbox, rear axle with one or two speeds, ladder type chassis, suspension by semi-elliptical springs and shock absorbers, hydraulic brakes with vacuum assistance and mechanical steering. The VW 13.130, in addition to a reinforced chassis and clutch, and new transmission ratios, brought stamped wheels (later the spoked ones would take their place), air brakes and power steering. Both models were presented with three wheelbase options. The cabin colors offered in the 1981 models were yellow, red, blue and beige.


The launch of the first Volkswagen trucks took place at two public events, one in Brasília (DF) and another exclusive for the press in Salvador (BA) also in March 1981. A curiosity: the engineers and technicians involved in the project celebrated the success of the project in the same garage where the trucks were developed, at a simple party entitled to cake, hot dogs and snacks.

Today, celebrating the brand's 40th anniversary, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus offers about 65 products, including buses, and has produced more than 1 million of them. In addition, it conquered markets in Brazil and in more than 30 countries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Always delivering the best to its customers with the slogan “Less, you don't want; more, you don't need”.