Manufacturing: Builder of the Bug

"To be poor in the fullest sense," Volkswagenwerk's Heinz Nordhoff once remarked, "has certain compensations. It strips the soul clean." When he reluctantly took charge of Volkswagen's Wolfsburg plant in North Germany in 1948, Nordhoff and his company both had more than enough of such spiritual compensation.

Built by Hitler to turn out "people's cars," the Volkswagen factory made only 210 cars before it went into war production, and after V-E day it was a shambles, 60% destroyed by Allied bombs. Nordhoff, too, was part of the postwar wreckage—a lifelong German automan...