As we celebrate Pulman’s 25th Anniversary, it’s important to remember how far the Volkswagen Group has come and we want to celebrate the individual achievements of Škoda, SEAT, Volkswagen and CUPRA across the last 25 years and more.
From racing divisions to museums that share our 25th anniversary, we look back at the rich heritage of the brands we know and love today!
We think of electric cars as recent history with rapid developments across the industry in a bid to move to a greener and ecologically friendly future. However, Volkswagen began their electric journey as far back as 1970!
Back then, it was believed oil supplies would dry up before the 1990s and this gave Volkswagen the motivation to begin the electric revolution.
The early batteries used to engineer this new breed of vehicle were extremely heavy and required a forklift truck just to move them in and out of the car! Volkswagen needed a sturdy vehicle chassis to take the weight of these gigantic power banks, so they settled on a T2 Camper to start their production and they dubbed it the “Elektro Transporter”.
It began testing in 1972 and had a range of just 43.5 miles and could charge in a total of 10 hours from a standard plug socket you’d find in your kitchen!
In the early 2000s several cars were built by Volkswagen which had twin-shaft electric hybrid drive systems or ran partly on electricity and even one that ran on woodchip fuel!
There was the Golf CitySTROMer (1992-1996) which sold just 120 units, and many of them stayed on the roads for years to come with one proudly sitting at Volkswagen HQ in Milton Keynes. The Space Up! Blue people carrier then arrived in 2002 partly powered by solar panels on its roof and the one-seater concept Nils bubble car powered with lithium-ion batteries in 2011.
Electric cars have developed so much in recent years due to advances in technology, the increased availability of charging points and the desire to be more cost efficient as well as environmentally friendly. Volkswagen have always been one of the leading manufacturers of electric vehicles debuting the e-Golf in 2013 with a mileage of 80-118 miles to a charge and since improving that to 205-336 miles.
In 1998 SEAT were about to enter the Rally World Championships in Finland with their Córdoba WRC and it remained their competition car of choice until 2000.
The Córdoba featured a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine with a sedan shape derived from the Ibiza road car and competed in the top categories of the Rally Championships across the globe.
Drivers Toni Gardemeister and Harri Rovanperä both achieved podium wins with this car.
The Córdoba was officially presented in May 1998 in the Oporto Car Show, painted with the company’s distinct Bengala yellow colour scheme and the car had a very fast turnaround time with the first model being completed just nine months after the unveiling.
The first big result was achieved by Erwin Webber in Rally Portugal in 1995 with the SEAT Ibiza 1.8 in third position against the very competitive Škoda team where the fate of the win was decided in the Rally of Great Britain!
But SEAT’s rallying days didn’t just start in the 90s they’d been in the game since 1971 with divisions of the Ibiza Kit Car even winning a few titles.
The Škoda museum in Denmark is also celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, and it’s the only Škoda museum outside of the Czech Republic!
The story of this museum starts with three Škoda fans who planned to take their favourite cars to the opening of a new bridge in Denmark and driving through the countryside they came up with the idea of sharing their passion for Škoda with Denmark and opened their own museum.
After officially opening in 1999, the museum soon became too small, so they moved into a renovated barn conversion to expand their collection to 30 cars dating back to the 1930s.
Škoda also had some successes during the 1990s with the launch of one of the brands most popular cars the Fabia. It was debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it subsequently won the car of the year award in 2001 as the Octavia had done before it in 1996.
Since then, Škoda has won many prestigious awards for design, spaciousness, utility and economy and the Octavia VRs even caught the eye of the British Police force as they’ve been using various models of the car since 2001!
The performance of these models is unparalleled for emergency services operating in rapid response situations with a 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds.Text here ...
CUPRA is a relatively new brand of vehicle, but you’ve heard of them before through SEAT. SEAT is the parent company of CUPRA and in 2018 after running alongside each other decided to form CUPRA as a separate entity.
CUPRA was SEATs re-named racing division from SEAT Sport as the name was derived from the contraction of “Cup Racer”.
The first official CUPRA branded model to be released was the Ateca SUV with turbocharged engine, 4-wheel drive with a reworked exhaust system, brakes and suspension offering the driver a brand-new invigorating experience behind the wheel.
For 20 years prior to the companies split the CUPRA range had been thriving with the car that started it all, the SEAT CUPRA Ibiza.
In the 90s when it was first developed it proved popular with its sporter look and feel as a hot hatchback and CUPRA is still having unprecedented success with their range today!
Over the last 4 years, CUPRA have been busy innovating and reinventing the world of motorsport and have become an underdog in the Formula E Championships with 14 wins, 47 podium finishes and setting 19 fastest laps so far this season.
Racing is in their DNA, and they’ve recently developed the e-Racer, the worlds-first 100% electric touring car.
We’ve also been on a rollercoaster journey that only goes up throughout the last 25 years!
In 1998 we started out with just 17 employees and just one location representing one Volkswagen Group brand.
Fast-forward to today and we have over 250 members of the Pulman family working across our 6 North East sites and two sites with a café inside the showroom, a huge transformation!
We also now represent 6 Volkswagen Group brands and above all else we still deliver a fantastic customer experience which has been our goal since day 1!
To discover more about our last 25 years in business, head to our 25th anniversary web page!