It’s not easy to make it into the Guinness World Records book. With over 50,000 applications from aspiring record-breakers each year, it can be a competitive field — especially in transportation, where records can come down to a millisecond.
At Volkswagen, we know a thing or two about breaking records. To celebrate Guinness World Records Day, we are looking back at nine times Volkswagen and its fans have advanced the auto industry and earned a place in Guinness World Records history.
1. Fastest lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife by an electric car
In the highlands of Nürburg, Germany sits the Nordschleife, a motorsport racing circuit 12.93 miles long. As drivers loop around a village and medieval castle, they take 145 turns and experience 3,000 meters of elevation change. On June 3, 2019, a professional racing driver achieved the fastest lap of the Nordschleife performed by an electric vehicle in a Volkswagen ID.R prototype in 6 minutes 5.336 seconds. The ID.R has two electric motors — one for each axle — that generate a combined 670 horsepower.
2. Fastest automated parking facility
The Volkswagen Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany features two 20-story vehicle storage towers that connect to the factory via an underground tunnel. After purchasing their new Volkswagen, car buyers can watch as it is retrieved from the towers and delivered to them by an automated system, which set the world record for being the fastest automated parking facility in 2013. The robotic shuttles can complete the parking process, from the entrance of the tower to the farthest parking box, in 1 minute 44 seconds.
3. First car to sell 20 million units
The Volkswagen Beetle was the first automobile in history to reach 20 million sales. On May 15, 1981, the 20 millionth Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line of Volkswagen de México in Puebla. To celebrate, a commemorative limited-edition Beetle was sold with silver metallic paint and black side stripes.
4. Farthest distance driven using an internal combustion engine in one hour
Two professional racing drivers set the record for the greatest distance driven in one hour by a car with an internal combustion engine. On October 18, 1980, at the 14-mile, high-speed Nardò circuit in Italy, test drivers drove 219.598 miles in a Volkswagen diesel-powered prototype in just one hour.
5. Most people crammed into…
- A “new” Volkswagen Beetle: A total of 25 people packed into a Volkswagen Beetle in Kremser, Austria on April 29, 2000. 1
- An “old” Volkswagen Beetle: A decade later, a university attempted the same feat — this time with a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle. On December 9, 2010, twenty people crammed into the car, which was the most people to fit inside any old-style Beetle model. A college group organized the event to raise awareness of human trafficking. 2
- A Volkswagen camper van: On September 5, 2015, a group of Volkswagen enthusiasts gathered at a festival held in Malvern, Worcestershire in the UK. Fifty people crowded into the van, setting a record that had never been attempted before, and they used the event to raise money for a children’s charity. 3
6. Fastest vehicle crossing the Gilf Al-Kebir Plateau
A Volkswagen Amarok was driven across the Gilf Al-Kebir plateau in Egypt on July 9, 2012. The route started at the Kamal El-din Hussein Memorial and ended at Wadi Abdul Malek, breaking the world record for the fastest time from south to north of the plateau. It covered 236 miles of difficult terrain and poor weather in 5 hours 7 minutes.
7. Longest parade of Volkswagen cars
A total of 2,728 Volkswagen Beetles participated in a parade on a racetrack near São Paulo on May 1, 1995. The event, organized by a local Volkswagen enthusiast club, also achieved the Guinness record for the longest parade of a single-model vehicle.
8. Largest human power symbol
Hundreds of Volkswagen employees gathered in Millbrook, U.K. at an employee conference on October 15, 2019. To foster teamwork, the group came together to create the largest human power symbol. The 786 participants, all of whom worked for the Volkswagen Group, remained in position for five minutes.
9. Bestselling passenger car company
In 2017, Volkswagen broke the record for the world’s best-selling passenger car company, with estimated sales of 10,447,227 units.
And Volkswagen is not done breaking records. With the ID.4 launching a new generation of fully electric vehicles, we expect to hold more of the world’s superlatives in the years to come.