August 2, 2013 12:09 PM Subscribe
How German car industry beat British motors - and kept going.
posted by VikingSword (105 comments total)
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'The UK car industry was once one of Germany's biggest competitors' 'by contrast, Britain's car industry is a shadow of its former self.' 'Half a century ago' 'this would have seemed unimaginable. But the sad truth is that Britain's car firms only have themselves to blame. Seventy years ago, at the end of World War II, Germany was on its knees. After the fall of Hitler's empire, its car industry lay in ruins.'
'In August 1945 the British Army sent a major called Ivan Hirst to take control of the giant Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, which had been built under the Nazis to produce 'people's cars' for the German masses.
Ignoring his sceptical superiors, Hirst could see the potential amid the shattered debris of the Wolfsburg factory.
Rebuilding Volkswagen, he thought, would be a step towards rehabilitating Germany as a prosperous, peaceful European ally. And of course he was right.
In the next few years, Hirst restarted production of a car we know today as the Beetle. And from then on, VW was flying.'