Ford, the fifth largest automaker in the world and Volkswagen, the second largest automaker in the world and one of the two famous motor companies that we love, have a really interesting history.
World War II that lasted from 1939 to 1945, did a lot of damage. In the same war, Volkswagen’s new plant – Fallersleben – was destroyed. This plant manufactured the military Kübelwagen (Porsche Type 82) and the amphibious Schwimmwagen (Type 166) along with manufacturing the V-1 flying bomb that was used in the war. This is why the Fallersleben plant was made a target and destroyed.
After the war ended Major Ivan Hirst of the British Army Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) took control of the destroyed plant in June 1945 as Germany had lost the war and Britain had won. He restarted productions. But largely due to the anti-German sentiment that was present post antisemitism and the mass-killing of Jews along with a dispute over the ownership of Volkswagen, no British company was interested in Volkswagen.
In 1948, Volkswagen was offered to Ford free of cost but Ernest Breech, the executive vice president of Ford Motor Company USA said that he didn’t think either the plant or the car was “worth a damn”, according to the book Ford: The Times, the Man, the Company by Allan Nevins and Frank Ernest Nevins.
Thereafter in the same year, the British government handed Volkswagen back to Germany. Former Opel (major German automobile company) chief Heinrich Nordhoff, managed Volkswagen. Over the next two decades, Volkswagen regained its foothold.
Now when you see a Beetle passing by on the road, you’ll know that that car has a long, incredible history.
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