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Henry Ford II Told The British The VW Beetle Was A Piece Of Junk

Illustration for article titled Henry Ford II Told The British The VW Beetle Was A Piece Of Junk

The fact that the Volkswagen Beetle was the idea of Adolf Hitler and designed by the same guy who came up with a bunch of Nazi tanks didn't make the car too popular in post-war Britain. In fact, they gave it "two to three years at most" in the early '40s.

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Ford has been a major force in Great Britain since its foundation in 1909, and when the British Government started looking for a new car for the masses, they listened carefully to what Mr. Ford had to say.

According to Richard Sutton's fantastic book Motor Mania, the official statement in 1945 about the Volkswagen was the following:

This car does not fulfil the technical requirements which must be expected from a motor car. Its performance and qualities have no attraction to the average buyer. It is too ugly and too noisy. Such a car, if at all, only be popular for two or three years at most.

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So instead of the Beetle, Britain produced Sir Alec Issigonis's design, the Morris Minor, which debuted in 1948, and remained in production until 1971.

Illustration for article titled Henry Ford II Told The British The VW Beetle Was A Piece Of Junk
Illustration for article titled Henry Ford II Told The British The VW Beetle Was A Piece Of Junk

On the other hand, the Beetle's assembly lines kept going until 2003, turning it into the most successful car ever made...

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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DISCUSSION

thedarkestofallcodes
Goshen, formerly Darkcode

He had a point.

I personally find the design ugly, and it isn't known for being a silent car, nor a great handling one. What Ford II failed to see was that some of those elements would actually give it character which made it popular.

Also, I thought the Toyota Corolla was the most successful car ever made...?