While Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi displayed futuristic concepts in their areas, there was nothing of that sort going on around the German manufacturers. Perhaps unwittingly playing to the national stereotype, the Germans decided to approach PIMS 2014 firmly from the present, eschewing fanciful concepts in favour of fully-loaded versions of their showroom offerings. Here we take a look at Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
(Warning, slightly long read ahead.)
We’ll start with Volkswagen, since they had the most people milling about. Continue reading →
While many Volkswagens lined the parade grounds, I was also a little surprised – although in retrospect this should have been expected – to find that there were also Volkswagens up on one side of the grandstands.
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.
By 1934, Ferdinand Porsche already had around three decades of experience designing cars, and chief among his early work is the Lohner-Porsche Mixte gas/electric hybrid. While an absolute commercial failure – no doubt the technology available at the time could not keep up with the concept – Porsche did manage to sell a few copies, so there was proof that the engineering was solid.
So when Adolf Hitler conceived of a car for the people in 1934, Porsche was called forth to engineer it. I would wager though, that neither men even thought that their collaboration – Hitler provided the machinery, Porsche provided the engineering – would come to be so long for this world.
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”.
In the last installment of our TransSport 2014 coverage, we ended with a couple of exciting prototypes from Factor Aurelio, as they set out on a journey to build the first all-Filipino supercar. Today we start off with an American automotive institution: the Ford Mustang, and there were a lot of them at TransSport 2014.
While SMX is a much smaller venue than the Philippine World Trade Center, there’s still a lot of space for a good number of cars to be shown. Besides, with the lack of manufacturer presence, the quality of the cars on show will most certainly make up for the smaller numbers.
In part one of our MIAS 2014 coverage, we went through the opulent minimalism of Rolls-Royce’s exhibit, the extravagant fiesta that is the Ford area, and the surprisingly simple Tire Guard. Now we’ll go through the two other big exhibitors at the show.