After World War II what was to be the fate of this odd bug-shaped car and its colossal bomb-battered factory? Legend has it that the victors underestimated the potential of the car that would become the automotive icon of several generations- indeed the worldÆs most-famous and most-produced automobile. Carl Ludvigsen interviews and researches in British- German- American- Australian and Belgian archives prove the contrary. His hitherto-untold story of why and how they didnÆt get the factory makes revealing and engrossing reading.
History buffs and followers of World War II and its aftermath will relish the way Ludvigsen depicts afresh the creation of the VW by renowned and -untouchable- engineer - the building of its factory by Hitler crony Robert Ley - a notorious womanizer who drank too much - and the wartime career of the huge Wolfsburg plant as the prime contractor for the jet-powered V-1 flying bomb- the worldÆs first successful cruise missile.
Car enthusiasts who consider themselves well-read will be absorbed by LudvigsenÆs disclosures of the national and company mindsets that affected their respective attitudes toward the radical Volkswagen. Most astonishing are his revelations of the deep interest of Ford in the VW factory. Far from rejecting the VW plant- Ford proposed that it be merged with its existing German operations. But the executive charged with the mission (Ludvigsen reveals his identity) failed to follow through.
Ludvigsen traces the BeetleÆs impact on the world of autos - from the Chevrolet Corvair and Hino Contessa to rear-engined Fiats - Skodas and Hillmans. We learn why the most startling decision made by VW chief Heinz Nordhoff was not to change his carÆs design. And we are brought right up to the 1998 launch of VWÆs New Beetle. For those who wish to comprehend its amazing impact on the auto market - Battle for the Beetle is the essential source.