The post-World War II revival of the European automobile industry is considered among the most dramatic success stories in modern industrial history. The most remarkable revival was in West Germany, where allied forces had destroyed almost the entire auto industry.

To get the West German car plants back on their feet significant financial aid and access to advanced production technologies were made available by the UK occupation forces.

First to shows signs of recovery were Volkswagen, who had already proved that they could make good cars, and continued to do so throughout the Fifties with the Beetle.

Among the few other West German car plants who succeeded in re-establishing themselves during the decade were BMW, Mercedes Benz and Opel.

In Italy, Fiat led the way focusing on the mass market ,dominating the industry in the post-war years.

The French industry returned from World War Two in much the same shape as it had begun,

This acheivment was largely thanks to their own version of the "Big Three ", Renault, Peugeot and Citroen who dominated the domestic market.

The same situation applied in Scandinavia where the two Swedish car manufacturers, Volvo and Saab, who sprang up as offshoots from other industrial sectors ran through most of the decade, and succeeding to survive and even prosper producing only a single model each.


As the Fifties was drawing to a close, against all the odds, the European car industry was already beginning to make an impact on the export markets of the World.

Leading the recovery were the West German car plants who had received significant financial aid and access to advanced production technologies, especially from the Allied forces.

All through the second half of the Fifties, the European public had money to spend, and a fair proportion of their budgets was assigned to making themselves mobile, often for the first time.

European car makers played their part in making this happen,offering cars to suit every budget and purpose. There were even a select few who could afford to " dig deep" and get their hands round the driving wheel of a luxurious Mercedes Benz, Ferrari or even Citroen's futuristic DS21.

Throughout the decade, the European car industry, especially West Germany, went from strength to strength.

Unlike their counterparts over the channel, the European industry worked hard to establish and maintain proper labour relations that ran on well into the Sixties and Seventies, in stark contrast from the ongoing and ever-increasing problems that the UK industry went through.

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