Thursday, 23 September 2010
German for "car for the people".
The origins of the company date back to 1930s Nazi Germany, and the project to build the car that would become known as the Beetle. Hitler's desire that almost anybody should be able to afford a car fitted with a proposal by car designer Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1952) -- although much of this design was inspired by the advanced Tatra cars of Hans Ledwinka. The intention was that ordinary Germans would buy the car by means of a savings scheme, which around 336,000 people eventually paid into. Prototypes of the car called the KdF-Wagen (German: Kraft durch Freude = strength through joy), appeared from 1936 onwards (the first cars had been produced in Stuttgart). The car already had its distinctive round shape and air-cooled, flat-four, rear-mounted engine, features similar to the Tatra.