God is bad!
I wish BBC would stop posting these little articles that I just have to answer.
I've got work to do and BBC is keeping me from my work. GOD IS BAD!
Actually I've already written several answers
to this feature
that asks what the world would be like if the VW bug hadn't existed.
The article hits part of the point accurately: VW managed to Own The Conversation via the Doyle Dane Bernbach advertisements in the '50s.
But it misses the most important and serious reason. VW mastered exporting because it mastered REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE. Morris and Renault and Rambler and Willys made better cars,
but those companies were sloppy about dealers.
Morris and Renault didn't bother to establish a dealer network at all, and Rambler and Willys didn't control the quality of their dealers and repairmen. Even good cars fail sometimes. If you can't count on the dealer to find and fix the failure quickly, the car's intrinsic goodness doesn't matter.
This is a very old story. Edison and Bell and Facebook and Apple succeeded because they knew how to set up a SYSTEM.
A good product won't conquer the world unless it has tentacles to keep you connected to the company.
= = = = =
Returning to the original question, my guess is that the Morris Minor would have become the universal car if VW hadn't Owned The Conversation. In the '70s Morris won indirectly, via Toyota which beat out VW with Morris-format cars plus perfect quality. A few years later Morris won again when the format of the Mini became universal. Even the new retro "Beetle" is built on a Mini platform.
So the Emersonian score is: Ferdinand Porsche 0, Alec Issigonis 2. Game, set, match to Alec.
Labels: Emersonian justice