By Tom Brett
13th May 2020

What if the VW Beetle was Never Made?

Last month asked the question, What if the Mini was Never Made? The overwhelming impact it had on British society was a car like no other and will live long in the memory of the automotive industry.

Now we look at the Volkswagen Beetle, coined as the people’s car in Nazi Germany, the car went on to become the biggest-selling production car in history after WWII selling in excess of 21 million units. But what if the car never left the design sheet and was somehow lost in time?

Hitler’s Autobahn Would be Empty

This point is definitely a double hypothesis but it goes to the roots of the production of the car. The original design of a people’s car was made back in 1925. Once mass production started in Germany during the ’30s, Hitler gave a contract to Ferdinand Porsche and wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for his country’s new road network.

Let’s say, and God forbid this, that Nazi Germany won the war and completed their vision of creating the Reichsautobahn – the original design of Germany’s infamous Autobahn. At the end of the war, there were around 50,000 Beetles in Germany with another 1 million produced by 1955.

I am going to go out on a limb and say this would have been the demise of Nazi Germany in this instance as the need for a cheap practical car would have been too much of a void to fill without this inexpensive project. Off with his head!

There Would Have Been no Volkswagen

During the war, Volkswagen was just churning out military vehicles for their leader. Afterwards saw world domination in the automotive industry having sold in 46 countries by 1952. The British military saved these factories from going under which led to such large production numbers. Perhaps they would have started to produce the Mini in Germany too if it wasn’t for the damn Beetle!

Think about all the successful models that were made from the successes of the Beetle.

The Mini Would Be on Top

The British car industry has had a colourful history which has seen big ups but also huge downs to the point of non-existence. Following from my previous point why didn’t we just start making the Mini in Germany to sell all over the world. I am sure that the costs of producing a single Mini would have gone down and the car could have even made a profit with the number of numbers the Beetle made?

Would there be no 911?

A lot of Porsche’s influences for the 911 were based on the Beetle itself. Many people may disagree but I can see a lot of design elements from the front of the Beetle incorporated into it. Not to mention the air-cooled engine that was installed in the Beetle also.

Maybe there would still be a 911 out there but certainly not as we know it today.

What car would have been Herbie?

The Love Bug was a huge success in 1969 where you saw a romance unfold with not only the two main characters but also the Beetle that could interact with them in such a unique way. It is hard to see another car managing to play such a role in a film. During auditions in the lineup, there were a few Toyotas, a TVR, a handful of Volvos, an MG and a pearl white Volkswagen Beetle. What they would have named it if it weren’t for the Beetle… Any Ideas?

Can you think of any other circumstances that could or could not have happened if the Beetle was never produced… let me know in the comments section below!



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