There is a very good reason for travellers to Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) to take a ‘sho’t left’ and go to the second oldest town in the Eastern Cape – Kariega, formerly known as Uitenhage.

The reason is the Volkswagen AutoPavilion which houses a rich collection of the brand history dating back more than 70 years in South Africa. More than 40 classics are displayed inside the AutoPavilion museum amongst which the oldest is a 1938 DKW F5 Reichklasse.

Kariega is home to Volkswagen Group South Africa’s (VWSA) manufacturing plant where the first Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the production line at the end of August 1951. 

The Volkswagen AutoPavilion is open to the public and offers plant tours where visitors have the opportunity to experience the production of the Polo and the Polo Vivo. Open five days a week, the Volkswagen AutoPavilion has welcomed more than 14 000 visitors this year (as of the end of August). 

Andile Dlamini, Head of VWSA Communications, said visitors come from across the country to view the museum and experience the motoring entertainment at the AutoPavilion. 

Captured amid some of the iconic classics are Siphokazi Wonci, VWSA plant tour guide (left) and Nelisa Winti, Volkswagen AutoPavilion administrator.

“The museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing an impressive array of our classic and iconic cars which were assembled at our Kariega plant in the past seven decades.  Many young children and school groups visit our facility to learn about the automotive industry's evolution,” says Dlamini. 

He added that visitors to the AutoPavilion also gain insight into the craftsmanship and engineering behind these vehicles and learn about the contribution of Volkswagen to the local automotive industry.

Colin Windell - proudly CHANGECARS