well [un]known[?]

In the 1950's and 60's, the name Karmann was a synonym for sporting cars and the company was something like the fine sports car division of Volkswagen, although they were, and are, an autonomous firm. On the other hand the work order proportion of Germany's biggest automaker in those days was high enough to maintain the contrary.

Nowadays the situation has changed. The production of cars such as the Mercedes SLK, the CLK as well as pre-assembled modules for the Renault Megane and the Jaguar XK8 Convertible, besides the assembling of the VW Golf Convertible and the open air Audi on A4 basis, points out, in addition to their great reputation as a full service supplier, that they are less independent on one customer today. But they have to suffer for this independency. None of the models made by them is labelled as a Karmann, neither as a trade name nor as a surname.

Karmann Transformer concept - front-left view

Though Karmann is even more than a supplier and a company that specialises in convertible assembling. A wide range of industrial development services in body styling, designing and engineering, prototyping and vehicle testing shows that they master almost everything to be a real carmaker.

Last year Karmann has presented the concept vehicle Transformer which demonstrates how a successor of the Karmann Ghia, the most legendary Karmann car, could look. But because of the economical situation in these day's automotive world it is understandably unavoidable to join one of the big combines to realise a car like this. Unfortunately no-one of them was interested in a project of that kind although Karmann would be certainly ready to accept compromises to eventually realise a vehicle that bears their name tag as a brand name and not merely as a concealed reference to its place of assembling, like it is the case with the current models that leave the assembly lines in Osnabrück, Lower Saxony.

At any rate the German automakers should think over it. Finally it would be a shame if the courageous Frenchmen dare to make it come true one fine day, profiting from Karmann's know-how and the cachet Made in Germany, whereas BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen produce more and more of their vehicles in foreign countries having problems in matters of quality at the same time.

In the case that these lines have aroused your curiosity, concerning Karmann and/or the Transformer, we attached a few links to interesting sites that deal with these topics. Have some fun!

www.karmann.de [ the official company Karmann site]
www.karmann-100.de [ the centenary site of Karmann ]
www.drogies.de/transformer_video.html [ Transformer video clip ]

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