By on April 18, 2009

In November 2007, VeeDub head honcho Martin Winterkorn announced his version of the Schlieffen Plan. Dubbed “Strategie 2018,” Winterkorn plotted the overthrow of GM and Toyota from the top of the worldwide sales charts. Winterkorn called for VW to rule the world in sales, profits, innovation and customer satisfaction by 2018. When the plan was announced, the MSM feted it, insiders (this reporter included) rolled their eyes and denounced the announcement as the usual hubris of an incoming CEO, a suit who’d be busy collecting his pension by the time 2018 rolled around. In any case, by 2018, the Generalstabsplan would long be forgotten and superseded by at least five other grand strategies.

A month ago, the worker’s council at Volkswagen said that the plan has merit. “All at Volkswagen agree that the targets of Strategie 2018 haven’t changed and that we will reach them,” said workers council chief Bernd Osterloh. That story didn’t get much traction. The few who read it sighed. Through plain dumb luck and the incompetence of others, VW may be closer to “mission accomplished” than anybody dared to think.

It’s a done deal: VW will surpass GM in sales this year to become world number two, behind Toyota. Now, Reuters reports that “Volkswagen AG may have overtaken Toyota Motor Co to become the world’s top-selling carmaker in the first quarter, thanks to government incentives that fueled demand in VW’s major markets.”

VW’s overall deliveries to customers worldwide fell 11 percent to around 1.39m vehicles in Q1. Others fell faster and harder, enabling VW to increase its share of the global passenger car market by 130 basis points to 11.0 percent.

“Toyota has given no forecast for retail sales, but its latest estimate for shipments for the 2009 first quarter is 1.23m vehicles, down 47 percent from a year earlier,” Reuters says.

“Volkswagen has the luck of being strong in the markets that are currently growing, while Toyota is exposed to those that are collapsing,” says motor mouth Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer in a rare case of seeing the obvious. VW’s failure to get anywhere in the toxic US market is now its savior. Where you have no significant sales, you cannot have significant losses.

Volkswagen has a very strong position in the world’s only significant growth market, China. In the PRC, VW surpassed the 1m mark last year. It produced more cars in China than Germany. Toyota has seen sales fall every month of this year in China, its third-biggest market. Volkswagen is benefiting from government stimulus plans for the car industry that have boosted demand in Germany, China and Brazil, its three biggest markets that together accounted for half of all group sales in the first quarter.

While VW is lucky to be in the right place at the right time, Toyota definitely finds itself in the wrong places at the wrong time: Toyota’s first-quarter US sales fell 36 percent, while sales in Japan for the core Toyota brand plummeted 31 percent. The two markets account for just under half of its global sales.

Volkswagen China’s Winfried Vahland quickly positioned himself as the top general in Volkswagen’s audacious plan to subjugate Toyota. “We have launched Strategy 2018 in line with the long-term objectives of the Volkswagen Group in China,” Vahland said to China Daily. Note the “We have launched.” Vahland said he would increase annual vehicles sales in China from the current 1 to 2 million units as well as enlarging its fleet by least four models per year by 2018.

The former controller, Vahland, had an uneventful career at VW and his dispatch to Beijing as head of the Volkswagen Group in Beijing was widely seen as a promotion to Volkswagen’s Siberia. The real power centers of VW China are at SAIC in Shanghai and FAW in Changchun. Now, Vahland basks in the limelight of being the frontline general of Volkswagen’s attack on a weakened Japan.

In Germany, VW benefited from the Abwrackprämien boom. Deliveries rose 4.5 percent to about 251,500 vehicles during the quarter. More than 160,000 new orders were booked as owners turn in their clunkers for a new one and €2.5K from the government.

Even in cratering Russia VW grows. Despite a 39 percent contraction in overall Russian demand, Volkswagen grew its volume by 14 percent, making VW the fourth-largest manufacturer in the country.

NPR can’t believe their ears: “Come on? Volkswagen? The world’s top selling automaker? That sounds impossible. Last year, Toyota crushed VW, selling almost three million more cars and trucks. But in the first quarter, Volkswagen sold more vehicles than Toyota even estimates it shipped. Analyst John Wolkonowicz at IHS Global Insight calls it a fluke.”

The disturbing news of the arrival of the former axis member at the gates of Aichi, Nagoya, results in grave head-nodding in the land of the rising sun. “Volkswagen is a big competitor for Toyota,” said Koji Endo, auto analyst at Credit Suisse in Tokyo. “Audi is strong, Volkswagen is strong, and they’re making good use of their small cars.”

The stock market greeted the news by lifting VW’s tock price. VW has also moved up in stock value ranking, grabbing the No. 2 spot behind Toyota, whose market capitalization of $133b still outstrips the German carmaker’s $100b. For now.

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90 Comments on “Editorial: VeeDub Rules Ze Vorld?...”


  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    Very interesting…
    Thanks for the 411.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    I have noticed lately that VW is also seeking to expand in the American market, because for the past year I have been seeing heavy advertising by VW. I have never seen them advertise like this before.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Please Dear God don’t allow VW to be the last automaker standing.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    I can’t see why not this could happen. Or why it would be a bad thing.

    And please substitute that Hitler pic, it’s cheap shot…

  • avatar

    And please substitute that Hitler pic, it’s cheap shot…

    These are rough times. We have to save at all costs. Cheap shots is all we can afford.

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    Thanks for the article. Very interesting. I just bought a 2009 Jetta TDI and love it. I bought it in April so I did not contribute to VW’s 1st quarter though. :) I agree that the picture is a “cheap shot”.

  • avatar
    McDoughnut

    Bertel – if you are having budget problems with the pictures how about a Sgt Schultz.

    Now that makes me think of VW!

  • avatar
    wpaulson

    No, VW/Audi will not take over the world. Parts & service are expensive, and poor reliability means there are few repeat buyers.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    I just find it degrading, that’s all. TTAC isn’t *that* cheap…

  • avatar
    Strippo

    And please substitute that Hitler pic, it’s cheap shot…

    I likewise find the implication of a connection between Hitler and Volkswagen deeply offensive.

  • avatar
    TR3GUY

    OK allow me to be creeped out for no good reason. I’m a good Jewish boy of WWII vets (D-Day for dad the whole deal).

    As soon as the VW Beattle came into this country my weird uncle bought one. My parents thought it odd — the ovens weren’t ven cool yet.

    It was 1984 before my dad bought a German car. heck today I can get married in Germany but not here. And they do ok with civil rights but THAT SAID it still creeps me out.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    What GS650G said, a million times over.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Yeah, yeah, I know the Hitler connection, the peoples car, the slave labour, and the vast amount of money VW had to pay after the war, to cover its shady past. But that was a long time ago. It’s such an old joke it isn’t funny anymore, to connect modern day VW with Hitler for an easy laugh. It’s cheap, it’s degrading, and it hasn’t any bearing today. In short, it’s an old joke. If you are trying to be funny, then try harder…

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Truly amazing that VW can manage to become #2 or (in some places) #1.
    Their design and performance are appealing; it’s a pity ownership often tarnishes the joy.

    Are VW Dealers outside the USA a different breed altogether? VW network here seems spotty at best.

    Meanwhile VW USA contemplates an ‘R’ version of the Tiguan. Why? Are they trying to emulate the Subaru XTI concept or something?
    Shouldn’t VW just bring the Sirocco over here and let the enthusiasts wanting it bad enough to pay for the privilege?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I know the Hitler connection, the peoples car, the slave labour, and the vast amount of money VW had to pay after the war, to cover its shady past

    In this case, I believe that the intent of the photo was to riff off of the reference to the Schlieffen Plan, which involved getting around a huge hurdle to conquer a lot of ground and to do it quickly. That plan didn’t work.

    When VW announced this grand plan, its ambitions seemed to be a bit lofty. (OK, so they seemed like completely BS.) Now, within a short time, it looks as if VW may actually succeed with it. Herr Schmitt seems surprised, and frankly, so am I.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    If for no other reason, it takes focus from the topic at hand… Call it the heebcake syndrome…

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    This is very interesting to me. How can VW have such widely varying results between the US and the rest of the world? My first new car was an 85 GTI. By the end of its 2 yr unlimited mileage warranty, I had amassed a folder 1/4 inch thick. Fuel injection, water leaks, rattles. None of the issues were a simple once and done, all were nagging problems that apparently were beyond solving. I will confess, though, that I loved the driving experience. Farfegnuegen, and all that. Anyhow, I sold the car and bought a 21 yr old 66 Plymouth Fury which was one of my most trouble-free cars ever for the next 4 yrs. But I digress.

    Here in the US, VW rides this roller-coaster of product appeal. Popular late 70s-early 80s, nearly disappear into the mid 90s, popular again late 90s, fall off again, and now seem to be growing again. All the while, I hear nothing but bad from owners and mechanics about virtually every model going back to the original Rabbit, excepting the diesels. I mean Chrysler-level bad. Everyone I have ever known who owned an Audi told horror stories about maintenance costs as the cars aged. Plus they have been overpriced the whole time. And then, they do something supremely stupid like the Routan.

    So what is it? Are they popular all over the rest of the world because all the competition is worse? Can’t be, because Toyota IS the competition, for the most part. Maybe we in the USA are spoiled by the history of durability of local iron thru the 60s and 70s, later improved by Toyonda and their ilk. I just don’t get it.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Yes, pch101, the analogy with the Schlieffen plan is a valid point, I am not subjecting to that. I just find it disturbing to see a piece about VW taking over the world, hand in hand with a rabid Hitler-pic.

  • avatar

    Hey, the photo works well for this article.

    When I was in fourth grade, we had a Shoebox Diorama assignment. We had to read a biography, then make a shoebox diorama of a scene from the biographical person’s life.

    I chose Hitler.

    My Bunker Diorama wasn’t very advanced, I just cut most of the shoebox lid out, and glued tissue-paper over it for a light source/diffusion, and cut out a peeper-hole at one of the long ends. I then cut out paper silhouettes of soldiers, carefully glued them all around the “walls.” Pasted another construction paper cut-out person splayed on the floor with brains blown out and gun in hand. Lastly, for historical accuracy I cut up a straw into sections, as well as lengthwise, and rolled and taped them to make lit cigarettes for the silhouette soldiers standing around the body (as the biography said the soldiers lit up after Hitler blew his brains out, as he wouldn’t allow any smoking around him).

    It was a more innocent time, as nowadays any kid that did anything like that for a school project would be sent for psychological evaluation or counseling or stupid b.s.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    The Hitler pic is perfectly appropriate.

    I believe VW can roll over the weak and impotent car markets of Europe, and I believe they can increase their state-sponsored presence in China. But I won’t be truly impressed until they get 6 or 7 percent -as opposed to 2% – of the US market.

    Americans have different ideas about reliability – it’s a reality based concept.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    A few random VW thoughts:

    1) VW is very big in China. A lot of Jettas (the newer iteration they call Sagitar in order to distinguish it from taxis), Passats, and many Audis–even a few Bentley’s in Shenzhen.

    2) My ’06 Jetta’s starter failed at 17K last week. It’s under warranty, but cannot be fixed until next week (more parts are needed from California–don’t ask). I was given a Mazda 626 with 20K as a loaner. VW reliability is what it is, but after driving the Mazda, I now know why I drive VW.

    3) After the 60 minutes hit piece, you couldn’t pay anyone to own an Audi. Now, at least in my area (Central Florida) it seems every other luxo brand is an Audi. A remarkable comeback, given the circumstances.

    4) At the dealer yesterday (picking up my…ugh…Mazda) I saw VW running a BIG SALE. It’s kind of shocking to think what the “People’s Car” has become. A VR6 Passat that ‘listed’ for 42K was now going for 32 large. Is this a bargain? A 52K Touareg “marked down” to 42. You get the picture. At the same time, I see many Passats, Jetti, and Golfs (the various species) along with the larger SUV around town.

    5) At the dealer, I noticed they’d shuffled Ms. Shields off into a corner, somewhere. I think they wish she’d go have her kids somewhere else. I’ve never seen a Routan on the highway, and hope I never do.

    6) The Jetta Diesel is receiving good reviews. I wish mine was a diesel. On a recent trip, I noticed many stations where D-oil was actually cheaper than high test.

    7) Sebring ’09. Let’s see what happens in France, this summer.

    8) If VW can increase reliability, it’s a no brainer. But, then again, when was the last time anyone ever gave props to BMW, or Merc, for being inexpensive to own, and for great reliability?

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    In the USA the reliability, according to Consumer Reports, varies by model. For example, the Jetta is average, the Rabbit is better than average and the Passat is worse than average. I’m in Ireland quite often and I understand that VW has a good reputation there for reliability.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Maybe we in the USA are spoiled by the history of durability of local iron thru the 60s and 70s”

    You must have lived through a different era in a different country that I did.

  • avatar
    Rastus

    Bertel,

    Would you please write a brief article above …on the total and complete takeover of GM by Obama? And would you please post a good sized photo of said Prez?

    The similarities between the individual El Hefe’s-in-charge would not go unnoticed.

    Thanks- God Bless Amerika.

    Seig Heil!!

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Dear VW

    improvement_needed :
    April 18th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Very interesting…
    Thanks for the 411.

    and also the 412

  • avatar
    50merc

    I’m glad to see that picture. It settles the long, acrimonious debate as to where Hitler stood with respect to the political spectrum. The photo makes it clear he was directing Germans to go leftward.

    But seriously, I too would like to see the Nazi references scaled back. When I was in grad school some of the chowderhead students went around nonsensically labeling anything that displeased them as “fascist this” and “fascist that.” Maybe if they’d seen Downfall (and not just the parody clips on YouTube) they would have realized what was thoroughly evil about the Third Reich and why WW 2 was a Good War.

  • avatar
    Rastus

    There is no such thing as a “good” war. Have you read about the firebombing of Dresden?…a non-military (ie, civilian) target?

    War is disgusting…each and every last one.

    If you’d like some more information re. the financing of both sides of wars, take a read…the gentlemen who wrote this book was kind enough to post it online. However, if you are inclined, you can buy it on Amazon too.

    http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/wall_street/

    Here’s a hint…the only people who can say war is “good” are the bankers…as they finance both sides (regardless of laws on the book preventing this).

  • avatar
    Rastus

    http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Ingvar said:

    “If for no other reason, it takes focus from the topic at hand… Call it the heebcake syndrome…”

    For one complaining about having sensibilities offended, this statement is quite hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?

    On topic, VW stated goals sound eerily similar to blustery statements from Nardelli/Red Ink Rick/Baghdad Bob regarding how well everything was/is going for their respective organizations… and it’s just as believable.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    Don’t discount the potential of VW. It took Hyundai roughly a decade to climb from being the Asian anwser to Yugo to making competing with Toyonda.

    If they fixed some of the know flaws with the products and distribution they could realistically get to 5-8%+ of the US market. They just need to improve the dealership experience and reduce the exorbitant costs of parts.

  • avatar
    grog

    No, VW/Audi will not take over the world. Parts & service are expensive, and poor reliability means there are few repeat buyers.

    VW has been saying “this will all change” for the llast ten years and, here we are and VW hasn’t changed on iota. These cars look great on paper…then they’re driven for 10K miles and everybody realizes why VW doesn’t sell for crap here in the states. I’d buy a Chrysler before I’d buy a VW. Take over the world in 9 years, yeah, right.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    To be completely honest, when I heard about VW trying to be the world’s top automaker, I scoffed, too. But the more I see, the more I’m convinced they can do it.

    What puzzles me is why they are able to do this.

    Their cars aren’t that reliable, far more expensive and their dealer network is woeful.

    If you want a car that’s frugal, reliable and cheaper, you go to Toyota.

    If you want a car with good driving dynamics and good handling you go straight to Ford/Mazda.

    If you have a family and care about safety in your car, then Renault are the queens of safe cars (Sorry, Volvo lost that title a long time ago).

    If you want a car that’s sporty, flash and enough to see you through your mid life crisis, then Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have plenty of offerings.

    So what can VW offer that the competition can’t?

    Bertel Schmitt :
    April 18th, 2009 at 9:58 am

    And please substitute that Hitler pic, it’s cheap shot…

    These are rough times. We have to save at all costs. Cheap shots is all we can afford.

    Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour….? :O)

  • avatar
    kaleun

    First about the picture… it is just funny. So stop bitching. I’m German (in WI now) and just play along with all the Gestapo, David Hasselhoff and all other jokes. Life is what you make of it… Please keep the pictures as funny as you do.. I have enough of that political correctness BS all day anywhere else.

    I Europe VW has a good reputation. There they have better interior, better engines. Reliability is so so .. at least better than here. At least they are known there for longevity.
    Coming to the US I test drove a Golf. First the dealer is a smiry guy trying to sell me all kind of DuPont paint protection, lying about the place of production (like I can’t read the label under the hood) and the interior just made me barth. I went with the Mazda 3 hatch (which is here what VW stands for in Germany, jut more reliable). I’m really not sure why VW can’t have a good strategy and Americanizes the cars they sell here. People that buy VW DON’T want an American car. So why do you equip it with un-european engines, cheap interior, make the rear blinkers red?

    My father in law had a new 2005 Jetta. Over the 2.5 years of ownerhsip 10+ trips to the dealer that kept the car there for more than 2 days (obviously their shops employ morons). One time it even stopped driving on me when I had borrowed his Jetta. We now have 2 Mazdas and no dealer experience beyond oil changes. Hmmm.. when I buy my next car, which brand would I consider again?
    They can take over the world, as long as they keep some other brands alive for me to drive.

    The driving experience with a VW is really good.. too sad you mostly drive it on a tow-truck or to the shop.
    (and I’m German, so it is politically correct to smash a German brand :-)

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It took Hyundai roughly a decade to climb from being the Asian anwser to Yugo to making competing with Toyonda.

    There’s a big difference. After years of floundering, Hyundai finally decided that the US is its most important market, which required a specific effort to design vehicles around American demands. That means trying to match Toyota quality, which is the benchmark.

    For the most part, the Europeans have exported versions of cars that they make for their own market. Except for a few specific vehicles, the US is gravy, not so much the focus of their business. They have made very little effort to design with the US customer primarily in mind.

    European consumers are more interested in perceived quality and the driving experience, and less interested in mechanical reliability. Since the cars are made mostly for them, you buy the same priorities when you buy a European car.

    I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon. A bit like GM, they are inclined to think that they know better, and that if the consumer doesn’t like it, it’s the consumer who is wrong. I don’t see VW ever regaining that much share in the US, the damage is already done and they have no plan to fix it.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    @jkross22: I’m only adjusting to the sense of humour. I thought heebcake was a rather fun play with words, in analogy with cheesecake and beefcake. It’s obviously some sort of cake that distracts from the core topic, wouldn’t you say?

  • avatar
    George B

    How can VW have such widely varying results between the US and the rest of the world?

    Maybe made in Mexico Volkswagens are not as reliable as made in Germany Volkswagens. I have no data to support that thought. Another factor may be the presence of large numbers of conservatively engineered Japanese brand cars and the absence of most non-luxury European brands in the US market, shifting consumer expectations for reliability.

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    When buying my 2009 Jetta TDI (my first VW) I went to three dealers and found all of them courteous, low pressure and knowledgeable.

    I have not yet had it serviced, but I did talk with the service manager and he was very knowledgeable about the diesel. I owned 1999 and 2001 Audi A4s and the service was excellent from the dealer I bought them from as was the sales experience. So far, I have nothing but good to report about my experiences with the cars and dealers of Volkswagen Corporation. I can not say the same for Acura, BMW and Mercedes Benz where my sales experiences were mixed.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Pch101:
    In this case, I believe that the intent of the photo was to riff off of the reference to the Schlieffen Plan, which involved getting around a huge hurdle to conquer a lot of ground and to do it quickly. That plan didn’t work.

    Schlieffen was WW1. The photo should be of the Kaiser.
    I do get the VW reference, but it is a distraction.

    Rastus:
    Have you read about the firebombing of Dresden?…a non-military (ie, civilian) target?

    The bombing disrupted ‘final solution’ trains and saved their potential victims. Also, the Soviet Army was nearby. They needed a lesson in how their home front would cook if they thought about continuing to the Atlantic.

    War is disgusting…each and every last one.
    Agreed.

    Back on topic: When the US market comes back (with a Government GM and no Chrysler), Toyota should easily best VW.

  • avatar
    ConejoZing

    Mr. Hilter
    And please substitute that Hitler pic, it’s cheap shot…

    These are rough times. We have to save at all costs. Cheap shots is all we can afford.

    Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour….? :O)

    Lol! Hitler is that unfortunate person that proved to the world that Fascism just doesn’t work. Though democracy is much slower and much more bureaucratic (not to mention wasteful) – it allows for other ideas to be expressed in politics. Another problem with Fascism – absolute power corrupts absolutely. As far as Volkswagen is concerned, it was actually Porsche that created the very first VW – the Beetle. That is why Porsche’s are like super hyper Volkswagen Beetles.

    Modern Germany is such a democratic nation – obsessed with democracy it would seem. That and David Hasselhoff lol!! We shall see if modern VW is up to the task of being the largest car company in the world.

    Porsche

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Congratulations on the choice of photo, Schmitt. You’ve managed to hijack your own thread. Who knew that, at TTAC, poverty extends to sensibility, taste, ethics, and the imagination?

  • avatar
    Droid800

    The use of the Hitler picture is disgusting Bertel. You know better. It cheapens TTAC and any valid points you might have.

    On the actual topic; VW’s not so far off their goal. For the first half of 2009 they’re expected to overtake both Toyota and GM, thanks in large part to big decreases on Toyota’s part. I’d imagine that, should they manage to pull it off, they won’t let that position go so easily.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Schlieffen was WW1. The photo should be of the Kaiser.

    No, that isn’t the gag here. The author was claiming that Winterkorn’s plan appeared to him to be similar to the Schlieffen plan, in that it was destined to fail and create a big mess in the process. Yet in defiance of expectations, it now appears that the VW plan may be working.

    The analogy here is that the Manstein Plan, which was used by Hitler to conquer France and Belgium, bore a lot of resemblance to the Schlieffen plan, yet despite the similarities that might have made it seemed destined for failure, that plan worked. So Winterkorn is more like Manstein than Schlieffen, and Manstein is a degree separated from the mean moustache guy.

    (Of course, this is also riffing off the recent tendency of some of the posters here to talk about Hitler at every turn, even though this isn’t a WWII discussion site. Kind of a wink and a nod, as it were.)

  • avatar
    Pch101

    How can VW have such widely varying results between the US and the rest of the world?

    Some of it is due to the fact that Americans tend to drive more. The average German drives about 8,000 miles per year. The average American is driving about 15,000 miles per year.

    American drivers are more dependent upon their cars, and any reliability problems inherent to the design are going to show up a lot sooner for those who are driving twice the distance. It’s understandable why reliability would be a higher priority to Americans.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    Oh, FFS. So they’re in the right place at the right time, in the middle of the worst global economy in 30 years. Yeah, they’re definitely on track – provided this recession lasts another ten years.

    Do we really need analysts to tell us what happens when Depression 2.0 goes away? People start buying Toyotas again. Enjoy the fluke while you can, VW…you’ll be getting crushed again in no time.

    Perhaps instead of celebrating how they’re advancing due to global economic chaos, VW might want to work on earning North America’s trust back. At the moment, I’d rather buy a Hyundai than a Volkswagen, since I’m pretty sure it will break less often.

    That’s a hell of a stigma to carry in the States…and we won’t be not buying cars forever.

  • avatar
    Harleyflhxi

    “improvement_needed :
    April 18th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Very interesting…
    Thanks for the 411.”

    You’re probably the first person to thank VW for the 411.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Actually, I would go so far as to say that including Hitler in any serious discussion makes that thread failed by default. Goodwins’ law is there for a reason, it just isn’t a topic worthy of a serious discussion….

    That said, I’m glad that people don’t take this business seriously, especially when there isn’t so much other things happening. And it is saturday… Cheers, everybody…

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    I just noticed….. Hitler looks a lot like Rick Wagoner.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Rastus :
    April 18th, 2009 at 11:29 am
    Bertel,

    Would you please write a brief article above …on the total and complete takeover of GM by Obama? And would you please post a good sized photo of said Prez?

    The similarities between the individual El Hefe’s-in-charge would not go unnoticed.

    Thanks- God Bless Amerika.

    Seig Heil!!

    It’s GM asking for the government’s help, and if the government is going to shell out tens of billions of dollars, it has EVERY RIGHT to demand operational changes before it invests a dime.

    If GM doesn’t like it, it can go find money elsewhere.

    Then we have the Hitler approach, which would be to line up all the GM executives in the boardroom and say “build this or I’m putting a bullet in your head.”

    Now, if we want to debate the merits of government bailouts of private corporations, that’s a legit topic. But let’s not go down this “Obama = Hitler” road, shall we?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ve found the best way to knock Nazism is to laugh at them.

    I’m Jewish and have no problem with this picture.

    And if we’re all hypersensitive about companies that were involved in “conquering ze vorld,” be sure to NEVER buy a Mitsubishi or Subaru – both companies were huge war materiel suppliers for the Japanese army and navy, which used them to slaughter untold millions of Chinese citizens, not to mention kill thousands of Americans.

    Let’s also not forget that Henry Ford was a rabid anti-Semite who toed the Hitler line on Jews.

  • avatar
    pleiter

    Pch 101:
    The Manstein Plan, or, Sickle Schnit (sp?) was Schlieffen rotated 180 degrees except for the part about the leisurely drive through the Ardennes. The British and French were Ultra-ready for countering Schlieffen, which is why Sickle Schnit scooped them all up in 10 days of fighting, bagged them at Dunkirk. So, what is the VW big surprise that is going to scoop Toyota ?
    Nothing, I suspect.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Robert Schwartz:

    You must have lived through a different era in a different country that I did.

    No, I just didn’t drive GM cars. More seriously (sort of) when i speak of durability during the 60s and 70s, I speak of powertrains. Sure, there was a lot of rust (particularly Fords in the northern states) and cheap interior materials (Chrysler of the 70s) but can you name me a bad engine or transmission of the 60s or 70s not built by GM? And, OK, nothing with 4 cylinders. I’m thinking of every inline 6 and V8 built, and all the C4s, C6s HydraMatics and Torqueflites that seldom gave trouble when maintained, and even when they weren’t. Yes, we all replaced our share of starters, alternators and water pumps, and fought with worn carburetors as they aged, but I never had an american car of that era that suffered an engine failure of any kind. I’m counting maybe 15 or 20 cars. All rear wheel drive, all with iron blocks, most with automatics, and all of them between 10 and 20 years old. And all but 1 a ford or mopar. I dealt with precisely 2 transmission issues, both torqueflites, one was 20 yrs old and 65k miles, the other 10 yrs old and 125k miles that broke a reverse band as I was rocking it out of a snowdrift.

    My point is that nobody had transmissions failing at 65k miles (Chrysler front drives and GM pickups) nobody blew head gaskets routinely (Ford 3.8s, Toyota 3.5s and a GM list that I’m not going into here) or had their engines destroyed due to breaking timing belts at 90k (because they all had chains).

    So when I argue that cars of that era were durable, I mean that they started and ran into old age without a lot of drama.

  • avatar
    orc4hire

    ihatetrees :
    The bombing disrupted ‘final solution’ trains and saved their potential victims. Also, the Soviet Army was nearby. They needed a lesson in how their home front would cook if they thought about continuing to the Atlantic.

    Actually Dresden was bombed at the request of the Soviets. It was full of refugees from eastern Germany and Stalin wanted them killed. We obliged.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Volkswagen AG may have overtaken Toyota Motor Co to become the world’s top-selling carmaker of unreliable crap in the first quarter.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Audi’s rise from near disaster has been nothing short of remarkable. The Audi badge still doesn’t carry quite the weight of the BMW roundel in the US, and it certainly didn’t in the early ’90s. So why did enough people flock to the B5 A4 to save the company? It was actually a great car.

    The 3 and C were still stuck in ’80s designs, and Infiniti, Acura, and Cadillac were basically pathetic jokes. Lexus had the ES300, oooh what fun!

    Yes Audi’s quality was shaky throughout the ’90s and into the early ’00s, but lately they are doing better than any German brand other than Porsche. They still lead the industry in style and interior design, and their cars are better to drive than ever (see supercharged S4).

    That said, VW’s quality still sucks (worse than Land Rover? Really?) and I wouldn’t touch one with a 10 foot pole.

  • avatar

    @mcdoughnut: Schultz is a great idea!

    Even though the war ended almost 65 years ago, I am an extreme liberal and By Definition, anyone who disagrees with me is not Henry Ford, Hutton Gibson, Eichmann, or even Himmler; nope, -they’re automatically Hitler. The world exists only in black and white to us extremists.

    I also train every day at heartily ignoring the tyrants and genocidists who are alive and kicking even now.
    -I mean, narcissistic rowboat-thinking is So much more soothing & rewarding!!

    … Anyhoo, who would be the next TTAC auto dictator? Waggoner as Tito? PTFOA chair as Pol Pot and GM+UAW as ‘the killing fields’?? Nardelli as Idi Amin? Lutz as Cookie Monster?

  • avatar
    JohnHowardOxley

    Well now, if the point of the article is to compare VW’s plan with the Schlieffen Plan, then the obvious photo would be either one of von Schlieffen, the plan’s (supposed) author, or of von Moltke the Younger, who so conspicuously failed to carry it out.

    The problem, methinks, is that most of the readership would not recognize a pic of either guy — I myself would not recognize von Schlieffen from his picture.

    To get the focus back on cars again, I owned a 2000 manual V-6 Jetta for about a year [2004 – 2005], and it was an interesting mix of the good and the bad [in part because it was an emergency purchase] — but the only problem I had during that time was a malfunctioning water temperature sensor.

  • avatar
    derm81

    What kind of RD/engineering operation does VW run in North America? Does it have a significant presense?

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    Well I’ll share w/ you my thoughts on VW, too. Though these thoughts are very market-centric…

    Down here VW was market leader for more than 40 years. A title stripped away by Fiat the last 8 years and counting. Heck, there was a moment in the seventies when they had about 70% market shares and 60% of the cars sold in Brazil were Beetle. Ipso facto, that carries a lot of goodwill. And good memmories. And available cars, in all conditions, to second, third, fourth and fifth-hand buyers. There was a time that anybody who drove in Brazil, started out in a Beetle.

    So, my impression is: Their cars are the default choice for poorer people in BRazil. People who are now buying their first brand new cars. People who don’t know any better. Sure, some of them will repeat, but as they start making more money they will notice that the people around them drive other makes. And they’ll try the other makes and very likely prefer them in future. (case in point are the French brands and even Fiat (to a degree) who are the newcomers to this market. You see them much more in “better” neighborhoods. Why? Probably the owners have much more available income and if they buy a car that lets them down it’s not a wallet-threatening situation. Poorer people will risk much less. Probably akin to US situation were the no brainer is Civic or Corolla, down here its Gol(VW) or Palio or Uno (Fiat)).

    But times move on. And they simply haven’t. They still offer the same things they did 15 years ago. That caused them to lose market share. But I guess they don’t care. They have never cared for the consumer and maybe, just maybe, it’s a cultural thing. They think they know better than the market and the market should just shut up and obey (to wit, BMW’s run-flats or Idrive). And that will be their downfall. Yes they’ll rule ze world this year, and even maybe next, but they don’t have any gas, or market sensibility to keep the title after the US recovers.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Put up a pic of Kaiser Wilhelm II instead. It fits better with the “Schlieffen Plan” reference.

    BTW, the Schlieffen Plan came damn close to working, and it appeared to be a success in September 1914. Of course long term it failed.

    We’re nowhere close to 2018 yet. The analogy is appropriate.

  • avatar
    don1967

    I must agree with the cheap shot comments… and I don’t even like VW.

  • avatar
    kkt

    The Schlieffen Plan might have worked. As it was, Moltke sent too many men to the center instead of enveloping the French army around the west flank. Something very similar to the Schlieffen Plan in WW II worked very well for the Germans.

  • avatar
    Diewaldo

    @FromBrazil:
    I just looked at Fiat of Brazil’s website. The current offering looks like a mash up of current and old European cars and the Fiat Palio which was designed for the South American market.

    Hell, they even sell the 1980s “Uno” as the “Mille Economy”. Man, that car was a rust bucket par excellence.

    In Germany FIAT does not stand for “Fix it again Tony” but we say “Fehler in allen Teilen” which roughly translates to “All parts are faulty”.

    I guess rust is not so much of a problem in Brazil, as people always said that Fiats are even rusting in the brochure.

    Do you know why Fiat drivers don’t greet each other in the afternoon? – Well, they met in the morning at the Fiat car repair shop.

    ;-)

  • avatar
    brettc

    It’s a scary concept that VW might become number 1 by default. It’s mind boggling about how clueless they are with the North American market. Especially the US since VWoCanada has more control on Canadian models now. I will say that I love my 2003 Jetta TDI. Just rolled over to 107000 miles, and plan to keep it for at least 5 more years. No major problems with it, just minor stuff so far. I would buy another VW, but only a diesel. There’s no point in wasting your time on a gas engine model when other manufacturers make better stuff.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    @Diewaldo

    Hello friend! Agreed. No seriously. These are the “joys” of living in a “developing-soon-to-be-world-power-almost there!” bullshit country. To be fair you should check out the competitors sites:

    Ford: How about a 1st generation Focus (circa 1997)? W/ a 1.6 flex engine?

    Chevy: How about a Chevy Classic (circa 1992)? Or a Celta (re-skinned 1st generation Corsa)?

    VW: This takes the cake..how about a Kombi van (Beetle buc?? Circa 1930)??? Or a brand-new fourth generatin Golf (circa 1990)??? Or a previous generation Jetta sold for 40K USD?

    Peugeot: How about a previous generation 206,(circa 1995) re-labelled 207, w/ a snout specifically designed for the home market?? Or 307s that don’t exist anymore in Europe??

    Get my drift? All car makers down here launch the new shit and keep the old shit. Sometimes the old shit is good ’cause you can get them for cheap. But…There’s always a but. You can do like Fiat and put modern powetrains into their (circa 1984) Uno, Mille Economy, making them into, very relatively, cost/benefit good deals. And use stuff like, you know, galvanized steel and such new technologies, which make them less prone to rusting. Or you can do like Chevy that still puts the smae engines they did into their cars in the 80s and call it good.

    Laugh all you want, but Fiat is laughing all the way to the bank, too. They are the leaders in this tough market. There must be some reason for that. Or else, the other option is we are all just 3rd world-ignorant-peasent-types who can’t seewhat’s good for us.

    BTW, their are a lot of jokes as to what FIAT stands for down here, too. Some that are particularly humorous stranslate roughly Italian family messing up the traffic, or I was fooled now its too late. Funny thing is, you don’t hear them half as much as you used too. And there’s been some funny new jokes as to what, Ford or Vw stand for.

    But your point is well taken. Rest assured.

  • avatar
    skor

    Some facts about Hitler and cars:

    Jeremy Clarkson, of TopGear, once said, “The only person who ever looked good in the back of a convertible was Hitler.” Clarkson then immediately issued an apology.

    Hitler never learned to drive a car. Hitler spent most of his WWI military service as a bicycle messenger on the Western Front.

    While Hitler was serving time in jail for the so called Beer Hall Putsch, he read a biography on Henry Ford. In Ford, AH found a kindred Jew baiting spirit.

    After coming to power in Germany, Hitler sent Crazy Henry a love letter and medal, which Henry gladly accepted.

    In 1933, AH commissioned a young engineer by the name of Ferdinand Porsche to design his “people’s car”. Adolf wanted to do for German workers what Henry did for their American counterparts.

    In 1945, what was left of the VW plant was in the British occupation zone. The British government tried to give VW to a British auto manufacturer, but none would take it, claiming that VW had no future.

    The British occupation authorities allowed the plant workers to resume production. The work was done under tarps since the plant’s roof had been blown up. The workers were paid in food.

    In 1949, VW came up with a plan for exporting cars to America. They approached Ford with a joint venture deal, VW wanted to sell their car through Ford’s dealer network. Crazy Henry died in 1946 and Henry Ford II was running the company. After Ford II saw the VW in person, he turned to one of his underlings and said, “That car is a shitbox.”

    History you won’t learn in school kids.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    @skor

    And then what? Ford sold Vws in their stores? If they did, talk about shooting yourself in the foot…

  • avatar
    skor

    @FromBrazil

    No, VW’s were never sold through Ford Dealers, since Ford II seemed to have a not so good opinion of the cars. VW first sold its cars through US dealers that imported other European makes. VW then went about building its own dealer network in the US.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    @skor

    Thanks for the info. The Beetle was a mighty car. I’ve always thought it curious how it could achieve the relative success it enjoyed in the land of the brave who had, oh, let’s say, such more enticing options!

  • avatar
    vento97

    JuniorMint :
    VW might want to work on earning North America’s trust back.

    Going elitist on us, eh, Junior?

    As a veteran who has seen tours of duty worldwide, I have this to say to you:

    The world doesn’t revolve around us. Come out of your sheltered, protected enclave for once, and experience real life for a change.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Another historical tidbit: Porsche was one of the very few people who refused to give Hitler the raised hand salute (and lived to tell about it). Hitler so admired Porsche, and Porsche was so apolitical, that he could pull it off.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    @Paul Niedermeyer

    Wow! Didn’t know that. Have new found respect for ole Ferdinand! I just thought he was, at least, a collaborator. Ummm, must now respect his legacy more!

    Thanks Paul.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    In the early 1960s Ford’s MacNamara commissioned a study to find out WHY American’s were choosing to buy the VW Beetle rather than ostentatious American cars. The Beetle was being bought by Doctors, Lawyers and other professionals who could clearly afford to spend more if they wanted. The result was the cost/sized reduced Falcon model, which was more economical than their other offerings. Falcon went on to be a best seller for Ford (with a seat belt – SHOCK!)

    Did American manufacturers miss a smaller car trick even back in the 1960s???? Duh.

    Arrogance.

    It’s understandable why reliability would be a higher priority to Americans.

    Given the domestic manufacturers, that statement is ironic yes??

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    All car makers down here launch the new shit and keep the old shit. Sometimes the old shit is good ’cause you can get them for cheap. But…There’s always a but. You can do like Fiat and put modern powetrains into their (circa 1984) Uno, Mille Economy, making them into, very relatively, cost/benefit good deals.

    That’s a great idea. Hell, Chrysler would be better off selling the old Omni/Horzon with a current powertrain than most of what they make now. I would actually consider buying the Omni/Horizon.

    Fiat sells a really cheap car in Mexico called the Albea. Have no idea what it is though. Looks kind of like the Nissan Platina.

  • avatar
    skor

    @PeteMoran

    MacNamara was one of the “Whiz Kids” brought to Ford by Henry II after the Second World War. The “Whiz Kids” were a group of Ivy League grads trained in modern business techniques. Before MacNamara commissioned the study of VW owners, most old school auto execs assumed that VW’s were purchased by kids, commies, poor people, and losers too stupid to know what a real car was. The results of the study were shocking. VW owners had a higher than average income, higher than average education levels, and disproportionate numbers of professionals such as doctors, lawyers and engineers.

    Instead of trying to copy the VW bolt for bolt, Ford decided to produce a car that had similar attributes, such as good economy and space utilization. Ford’s answer was the Falcon, a conventional car in terms of engineering, and a monster sales success for Ford. The Falcon was sold in the US for 10 model years, and sold in South America (with it’s original 1st gen body style) into the 1990’s, and the name plate lives on in Australia to this day!

    The First generation Mustang was nothing more than a rebodied Falcon, an even bigger monster sales success for Ford.

    To sum up, the Model T inspired Hitler to produce a “people’s car” for Germans, the VW. The VW inspired Ford to produce the Falcon. The Falcon gave birth to the Mustang.

    Over at GM, the suits decided that VW’s appeal lay in its rear, air-cooled engine design, so they tried to out VW the VW with the Corvair. Unfortunately, the Corvair shared so few parts with other GM products, that GM was forced to cut corners to lower production costs. Some of the cutting took place in the car’s rear suspension, causing the car to take corners sideways, with unpleasant results for the driver’s.

    BTW, MacNamara left Ford in 1961 to take the position of Secretary of Defense in the new Kennedy administration. While serving in the same capacity under the Johnson Administration, MacNamara become the architect of the Vietnam War. MacNamara was a great lover of metrics and formulas, he is the one credited with devising the infamous “kill ratio”.

  • avatar
    Rastus

    My how we’ve come full-circle. If you don’t follow this…maybe you should. It’s been revealed the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” was a complete fabricated lie:

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/press20051201.htm

    http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~rgibson/tonkinlie.htm

    How many people lost their lives based upon a lie? How many people made million$?

  • avatar
    ohsnap

    The photo of Hitler highlighting Volkswagen’s new found market strength is one of the most idiotic things done by TTAC to date, if not the singularly most idiotic.

    Why not post photos of Hirohito when speaking of Mitsubishi, or photos of Mussolini when writing about Ferrari?

    Mitsubishi produced Zeros and other armaments for Japan in heavy numbers during WWII, and Hirohito was a huge stakeholder in the Keiretsu that is Mitsubishi.

    Ferrari was one of the most ardent and enthusiastic supporters of Mussolini, until his demise.

    Lame, TTAC. So so lame.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    vento97 :
    Going elitist on us, eh, Junior?

    As a veteran who has seen tours of duty worldwide, I have this to say to you:

    The world doesn’t revolve around us. Come out of your sheltered, protected enclave for once, and experience real life for a change.

    It’s absolutely hysterical that you think I’m elitist for (correctly) identifying the U.S. as one of the three largest car markets on the planet.

    Guess my shelter was a little more informative than your worldwide tours of duty. :)

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Please Dear God don’t allow VW to be the last automaker standing.

    Screw that, I want VW to be the last automaker standing. Eos’ and Routans for all!

  • avatar

    mpresley: I wish mine was a diesel. On a recent trip, I noticed many stations where D-oil was actually cheaper than high test.

    Indeed. That is the way nature, god, and Rudolph Diesel intended. Diesel’s price elevation over gasoline here in the USA between 2004-2008 was a temporary phenomena of taxes, ULSD conversion, and supply/demand issues. Historically Diesel has always been between half and 2/3rds the price of gasoline.

    As for the Hitler pic: lighten up folks. The man had a strong desire to “conquer the world”; was one degree of separation away from VW itself; and two degrees off of the Schifflen Plan. As such, it is TRUTH and relates directly to the subject matter. Denial of historical fact because it bothers you is no way to learn lessons from history. Besides, being “offended” should always be the least of our worries in life.

    As for VW, it is obvious that they have achieved this position by default, and not by their own actions. There is no cause for celebration in Wolfsburg when their opponents knocked themselves out of the running!

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Diewaldo

    @FromBrazil:
    Don’t be mad me with me … or with Ford. The US also gets only a watered down 1st Gen Focus that looks like a joke. ;-)

    And Fiat also sold the Palio until some years ago here in Germany.

    Peugeot is also selling the revamped 206 as 206+ in Europe.

    I am well aware that the quality of the new Fiats is steadily rising, but still the bad image is preventing them to pick up more sales in Europe.

    @the Hitler picture debate:
    I as a German don’t really mind. I hate him. But as I was born 1980 there is nothing I could have done about him. So please feel free to titulate me as a Nazi, a fascist or a mass murder. I am getting used to it. This is the stigma every German has to bear.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    @Diewaldo

    It’s just kind of sad really. Germany could’ve done so much more for itself. Germany could’ve been the electronics powerhouse that Japan is. Hell, Germany could’ve easily been first in space. But noooo, you guys had to get all grabby.

    Unrelated, but I’m also quite sure that Hitler learned to drive eventually. Didn’t Ava take video of him driving around in a Benz SSK?

  • avatar
    Diewaldo

    @Davekaybsc:

    No, it couldn’t. Germany didn’t have the market protectionism of the Japanese which in fact inabled them to take over the car sector from the Former Big Three and also the Electronics sector.

    Without this we wouldn’t have a Sony or a Toyota today.

  • avatar
    97escort

    Subsidies the German way:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=aZ93JIvKP.i8&refer=home

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    In the early 1960s Ford’s MacNamara commissioned a study to find out WHY American’s were choosing to buy the VW Beetle rather than ostentatious American cars. The Beetle was being bought by Doctors, Lawyers and other professionals who could clearly afford to spend more if they wanted. The result was the cost/sized reduced Falcon model, which was more economical than their other offerings. Falcon went on to be a best seller for Ford (with a seat belt – SHOCK!)

    That’s interesting. However, there is still something that doesn’t make sense. As far as I know, the Falcon was never a hit with the Doctor/Lawer types. So what was it about the beetle that made professional types want one?

  • avatar
    redrum

    The Hitler pic is in poor taste, but what’s really disturbing is that it’s neither clever nor funny. I’m guessing you’re just looking to get a rise out of people, and have apparently have succeeded, but I’d prefer TTAC stay away from trolling after April 1st.

  • avatar
    Martin B

    @FromBrazil

    We have old models produced here in South Africa. They still make the original VW Golf/Rabbit (it’s called the CitiGolf) along with the latest Golfs, and it’s still a good seller.

    The original Golf was introduced here in 1978. I remember the year because I used to work in the country districts near the VW factory then, and I watched them test-drive a couple of pre-production Golfs up and down the country roads for weeks on end. Man, they really hammered those cars!

    Maybe its durability is why it’s been such a good seller. Apart from a new dashboard and fuel injection a couple of years ago, it’s pretty much original. They can’t fit airbags, so it might eventually be discontinued for safety reasons.

    31 continuous years of the same model — not bad.

  • avatar

    @all Hitler-sissies: Poking fun at Adolf has a long tradition, from Charlie Chaplin through Mel Brooks and Monty Python. If you have a problem with that, start complaining there, or ask your nannies to change your nappies. Adolf, standing in what looks like an early VW convertible, is a propos: Adolf fathered Volkswagen and will always be part of its history, whether one wants it to go away or not. The KdF Wagen was never built and millions of Germans were bilked out of their savings. Ferry Porsche’s son-in-law, Anton Piech, was General Manager of VW and made off with 10 million Reichsmark a few weeks before the end of WW2. The misappropriated money was used to fund Porsche KG in Austria, which now owns Volkswagen. Ferdinand Piech is Anton Piechs’s son. Hitler jokes are common in Wolfsburg, they help to chase away the scary ghosts that roam the night of a dark past, and they seem to come back again and again, as hard as one may try to exorcise them. When V.A.G was launched (and this reporter was much involved in that peculiar project) and when it was verboten to put a meaning behind the astonishing acronym, the most popular inside joke at the Mittelland-Kanal was “Von Adolf Gegründet” (“founded by Adolf”.) A story about world domination by Volkswagen would be remiss without a reference to the company’s founder.

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    @Diewaldo and Martin B.

    I’m not mad at you Diewaldo. I’m just pointing out a characteristic of, as Martin B. points out, many a 3rd world market. And that many of you who live in the 1st world may find slightly funny (in both senses of the word).

    It’s funny though when you walk into a Ford dealership and see the old Focus right alongside the new one (yes we already get the Euro-Focus). For me this gimmick tries to cheapen the buyer of the old Focus, makes him feel bad. Bad enough to reach into his pocket and cough up the extra bucks that many times he really shouldn’t or can’t dispose of. However, there are people (I include myself in this category) who see through all the hype and appeal of the “new” and see the old model exactly for what it is, a good car, with a proven history, that is still very adquate and quite modern (in a market full of Palios, Corsas, Celtas, old Fiestas, Unos, Gols, 206+ and whatnot).

    So there’s good and bad in this situation. I guess it all comes down to how much you mind other people’s opinion.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Schmitt, you are either ignorant of human history, or gained nothing from it. In this you have much company, but some of these people recover. Steven Spielberg said that, after he learned something about Nazis, he regretted using them for entertainment purposes in his film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  • avatar

    My friend, I spent my childhood alongside two men who had numbers tatooed in their forearms. One was my uncle, a former Sturmbannführer in the Waffen SS who was – missing one eye and part of his head -released from Russian captivity in 1955, 10 years after the war had ended. The other was my buddie’s father, a former concentration camp victim. Through us kids, the two men became friends. We listened to both of their harrowing stories. We watched them get drunk together and swear at the people who had robbed a good part of their lives. We didn’t have to wait for a Steven Spielberg to belatedly learn something about Nazis while sitting at the beach in East Hampton. Raiders of the Lost Ark was produced in 1981. Having said that, I declare this thread as closed.

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