Heinrich Nordhoff

Inducted 1985

Orchestrated the post-World War II revitalization of Volkswagen to produce the most successful car of all time>> Through the success of Volkswagen, was a major contributor to Germany’s economic recovery following World War II Heinrich Nordhoff rebuilt the Volkswagen company, and helped restore pride in the phrase: Made in Germany. Prior to World War II, Nordhoff was an executive of Adam Opal AG, a German subsidiary of General Motors. After the war, Nordhoff was appointed Managing Director of the virtually destroyed Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg. To rebuild Volkswagen, Nordhoff created a productive partnership between management and workers while also fostering humanitarian efforts in the town of Wolfsburg to create a free and open cultural community. To create a car of the highest quality, Nordhoff concentrated on technological improvements and refused to make styling changes in the classic Beetle design . By emphasizing service first, sales second, Nordhoff created a world market that paved the way for later automakers. His colleague Carl Hahn, while head of Volkswagen of America, remarked, Nordhoff has a sure instinct…He never butts his head against a wall; he just manages to walk through a door in the wall which no one else sees.

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