June 5, 2016
It is awful to articulate, but the prototypical Volkswagen model: the Beetle (both because it was first and because it is the ideal vision for the company), is Hitler’s only acceptable enterprise. Despite rampant state corruption, the end result of the Volkswagen project was an automotive checkpoint, that laid ground for future automobiles. It was Hitler, that listed the stipulations that eventually yielded the archetypal Volkswagen (as in car for the (masses of) people). The guidelines, were few, but never before accomplished. The Beetle was to be sufficiently simple so as to be driven by any one, momentous enough to carry two adults and three children at a speed of 62 miles per hour, with an air cooled engine to prevent pesky freezing issues. Most importantly, Hitler demanded that the car had to be available to any citizen for 990 Reichsmarks (RM). The idea was, with only 5 RM a week anyone could own one of his Volkswagens. Though, in the grand scheme; the credit for the endeavor belongs least to Hitler, who basically shoehorned the project to the top of the “Kraft durch Freude (KdF)” (“Strength through Joy”) docket, and ensured that the project was headed by the right (reich) engineer. The state run KdF was basically the Nazi’s moral boosters. It was their task to ensure that the German Labor Front (“Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF)”) was content. This task was made particularly challenging by the fact that many of the DAF workers were not there on their own accord. In terms of competition, there were quite a few companies in western countries that were vying to be the first to make a viable car for the (then impoverished) masses. Obviously, the Model T made cars accessible in the US; Hitler wanted the same for Germany. Regardless, without Ferdinand Porsche the idea would have yielded no implementation. It was he who did the actual work. What eventually became the original Volkswagen Beetle, was so well designed, that it has since become an ancestral part of all cars’ DNA. Using this diagram as a reference for a visual allusion, the Beetle would be the Cro Magnon (the guy with the spear). At the time of its release (technically 1938), the Volkswagen Beetle was almost anachronistic. It was genesis. For years, it had no real competition, only emulators. While legendary Ferdinand Porsche was chosen to spearhead the Volkswagen project; he only succeeded where others failed because he was gifted a state of the art state run factory from the corrupt (and biased) Nazi regime. There were many adept engineers that could have made a comparable commodity (the Mercedes 130 come to mind). However, without the aforementioned factory; they could not have challenged the Beetle dominance even with a superior product. Thus, at the time, the company’s appetite for competition went essentially unnoticed and/or was not yet a driving factor in the Volkswagen modus operandi. Eventually, the company was blindsided by a (then) lesser known Japanese automaker. It was then that competition became a way of life for all Volkswagen employees.