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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Knockdown kits: How VW spread Beetle assembly across the world | Hagerty Media

The Volkswagen Beetle is among the most successful vehicle designs ever produced. VW built the simple, timeless, and affordable car for more than 65 years and, for most of that time, it exported them-in pieces. A vehicle (or other product) exported from its manufacturing origin in pieces that are assembled elsewhere is called a "completely knocked down," or CKD, kit.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/knockdown-kits-how-vw-spread-beetle-assembly-across...
5 REPLIES 5
Engineerbruce68
Pit Crew

I remember in the 1990’s a fellow auto repair shop owner bemoaned the fact that German engine cases were no longer available.
Beetle parts made in other countries never matched the German quality.
It was truly a sad day when the original Type 1 disappeared from the US showrooms.
02-orignal-ownr
Detailer

"VW’s Beetle—known for its simple air-cooled powertrain and novel, stamped floorpan chassis—was the first vehicle to use the process."

Don't believe that VW was the first vehicle to be shipped CKD--Ford did that with Model T's back in the 20s, or perhaps even earlier.

The extensive auto industry throughout Latin America began with CKD kits, and progressed to full manufacturing as the markets grew, and local content laws proliferated. Volkswagen had to get creative to meet Mexican local content laws, which required engine blocks to be produced locally (within Mexico). Unfortunately at that time there were no facilities in Mexico that could cast and machine magnesium, so VW negotiated with the government and ended up producing (IIRC) transaxles locally to "swap" for engine block production. I visited the VW plant in Puebla as part of my Master's Thesis research (what a deal--a car guy doing his thesis on auto manufacturing!) and found almost every primary part--sheet metal--floor pan, running gear--produced in Mexico.
Cornbinder
Intermediate Driver

More correctly, G503 jeeps during WWII were completely assembled (to include paint, to verify functionality and completeness) then DISASSEMBLED and crated for shipment overseas. Usually by their manufacturer (Ford or Willys) but also as the war progressed at depots at the coasts. Most other trucks during the war also were to some extent, most often the Studebaker US-6 two-and-a-half ton, as they were "substitute standard" and most were sent out Lend Lease to the UK Commonwealth and especially the USSR.
Waterboy1KHY80
Intermediate Driver

What a neat thought, and as Tom has proven their are "Barn Finds" out there still. Maybe he should be looking for wooden crates as well? LOL
deckerbilt
Intermediate Driver

I would think that shipping costs themselves would be lower, not having to ship what amounts to a lot of airspace in a vehicle. This would be partially offset by the cost of crating since a finished vehicle does not require one.