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
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 ]