SMALL WONDER by Walter H. Nelson


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Small Wonder is about ""that car of Hitler's,"" the Volkswagen. Long before Hitler, however, Ferdinand Porsche had dreamed of matching Henry Ford's ""car for the people"" with a car for the German family. Porsche was already a world-famous designer when he began designing his small car, but the better his designs became the more resistance he met from manufacturers. Then one day in the '30's Hitler summoned Porsche into his presence, told him the specifications he desired (which agreed with Porsche's), and then the Fuhrer announced to Germany that a cheap, dependable people's car for everyone was in the works. Workers paid out $67 million in advance layaway plans, but in five years never received a car. Hitler and his Volkswagen went to war instead. They hired one Heinz Nordhoff, a starving industrial manager, to get the plant going again. Since that day (and Nordhoff at first despised the Volkswagen), he has built VW into the largest plant in Europe and Detroit's greatest competitor. An absorbing story even if you don't own a VW.

Publisher: Little, Brown