Home Volkswagen History Battle for the Beetle

Sports Car Market - July 2000

During WWII, the Volkswagenwerk was used to produce parts for the V1 flying bomb. This made it a prime target for Allied bombing raids and by the end of the war, a portion of the ground floor was in ruins. The city of Fallersleben (later known as Wolfsburg) fell into the British Zone after the war. This story begins with how the British fended off various takers interested in stripping the factory of its machinery under the guise of war reparations and how British industry showed little interest in taking over the factory themselves. All of this led to the Beetle staying in Germany. The story has all the ingredients of a fine novel.

Heroic and greedy characters suffering from various amounts of industrial myopia muddled through the late '40s not quite sure what to do with the incredible production capacity of the Volkswagenwerk factory. Non-German competitors were fearful that their home markets might be flooded with cheap, reliable Beetles. How the Beetle survived and remained a German product and how no other competitors even came close to its longevity and production numbers is told in concise as well as entertaining detail.

Beautifully researched and filled with over 200 photos, Karl Ludvigsen puts this situation in perspective. Overall, Battle for the Beetle is a scholarly and engrossing book that is easily up to Ludvigsen's usual high standards. It will be useful to all students of the period, especially those interested in automotive history, and of the early Volkswagen.

Article from and courtesy of Sports Car Market - July 2000

Karl Ludvigsen
Karl Ludvigsen

In addition to his motor industry activities as an executive (with GM, Fiat and Ford) and head of a consulting company, Karl Ludvigsen has been active for over 50 years as an author and historian. As an author, co-author or editor he has some four dozen books to his credit. Needless to say, they are all about cars and the motor industry, Karl's life-long passion.

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