Around 121,000 people live in WOLFSBURG, but make no mistake, this is Volkswagen’s town. The village of the mid-1930s was reinvented almost overnight when Hitler’s Ford-inspired dream of a Volkswagen (literally “people’s car”) was realized in 1937 as a sprawling factory that began churning out the “Beetle” designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Aided by the economic pick-me-up of a postwar British military contract, an exception to enforced de-industrialization elsewhere, Volkswagen thrived, a fairy godmother of the German economy’s rags-to-riches Cinderella story. Such was the bad press at a threat to reduce operations at the world headquarters, Volkswagen was forced to shelve the plan.
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