When it was conceptualised, the KdF-Wagen – now better known as the Beetle – was set to sell for 990 Reich Marks. While this was little more than what a motorcycle sold for in those days, it was still pretty serious change for the average German wage-earner. To further complicate matters, one could not simply hand over 990 Reich Marks and drive away with a new KdF-Wagen. One was required to join a savings scheme involving stamps run by Kraft durch Freude, the Nazi leisure/propaganda organisation from which the car took its name. Still, with the new Autobahns beckoning, people signed up for the scheme, eagerly awaiting for the day they could take their shiny new KdF-Wagen home.
It was a simple enough idea: a car that was cheap to buy and operate and could carry a family of five across Germany’s new roadways. The idea was promoted by a man named Adolf Hitler; he was eager to get the people of Germany moving, apparently inspired by the exploits of Henry Ford. The task of engineering the new “people’s car” went to an engineer by the name of Ferdinand Porsche, while naming the car fell to Adolf. Thus came the “Volkswagen”, literally translated to “people’s car”.