Last July Motor Sport drew attention, in an Editorial under the heading “Ridiculous in Retrospect,” to the adverse report issued during the war by British engineers on the design of the VW. A British technical journalist found otherwise :—”It is quite certainly a car that would have been suitable for all German motoring conditions and also for export to world markets where car value is measured, not by eye appeal, as it often is in this country, but by sheer utilitarian considerations.
“Finally, it is well to remember that the enormous (K d F) works may be turned back to the production of cars with the cessation of war and that the design is sufficiently advanced not to have become out of date during the period of hostilities. The K d F may well, therefore, become a competitor for export business in the post-war period.” Those words concluded an article entitled “The Truth Behind the K d F,” by Laurence Pomeroy, which appeared in The Motor, dated March 12th, 1941.
The same journal, on January 19th this year, in reporting the 38th Brussels Motor Show, stated that the VW plant in Antwerp accounted for a large part of the total of 35,000 German cars sold in Belgium during 1954, the figures for American plants being 21,000, French 18,300, and British 16,700.
During 1954 Germany produced 242,673 VWs, as the K d F is now called, an increase of 35 per cent. over 1953. Of these, 108,922 were exported, an increase of 36.7 per cent, over the 1953 exports. About 30 per cent of all passenger cars on German roads are now VWs. In Belgium the VW sells for 57,000 francs in standard form, compared to 49,500 francs (£360) for the Renault 750 “Normale” and 49,750 francs for the two-cylinder I.F.A. The two-door Austin A30 saloon costs 2,000 francs more than the VW, and the two-door Austin A40 21,600 francs more.
Then in the Motor last month “King Pin” advocated air-cooling, stating that “Volkswagen have done very well. Their design is now 20 years old. If Britain stepped in now with a brand new, properly-developed car of medium size, powered with a well-shaped six-seater body and 60 b.h.p. air-cooled engine, she would sweep in orders from all the world.”