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All Tests

  History - CKD

The manufacturers are currently looking for some anniversary in every corner of their history that they can grasp, so that there will be something to publish again. Because new model launches have become rarer. This is also true of VW, although we don't want to say that the one mentioned here isn't worth it.

What is it about? Have you ever thought about the fact that not only complete cars, but also parts of them leave the factory, then probably only spare parts come to mind. But it goes much further than that. At VW they call it 'Completely Knocked Down'. What they mean is that such parts go to markets that are either not yet developed or where high customs duties are imposed on complete cars.

VW has been doing this for 70 years, i.e. from 1950 onwards, and important plants may have been arised by this in Brazil and Mexico, for example. Above you can see what a transport crate looks like with as many beetle side parts and roofs as possible. These are then shipped to South Africa, for example, where the versions with the steering wheel on the right are made. It is quite possible that other countries with left-hand traffic will be supplied from there. So first an assembly plant is built and then perhaps even more.

If you think that this is only a small proportion of the production of the manufacturing plant, then let the figure teach you, because in total we are talking about 200 million cars in parts, 3 million more every year. Since the production of a car is distributed, different plants are involved in such deliveries and these have long since become a kind of flow production. In the picture above you can see how as many beetle gearboxes with rear axles and covered clutch bells as possible are stacked in a wooden frame.

The ideas collected by employees sometimes result in even more effective use of the transport boxes. All of a sudden, one more Bully front fits in and delivers considerable savings, in which an employee naturally has a fair share. What is perhaps not so well known, however, is that many manufacturers also supply complete painted bodies by CKD, but also as ordinary spare parts. It is up to each individual to decide whether it is worthwhile to carry out the conversion himself or have it done by a workshop.

In post-war Britain, there was such a thing with the parts of complete vehicles to private customers, so-called Kit Cars. Lotus is a well-known brand for this, later even with the Elan or the Elise. The bodywork made of glass- fibre reinforced plastic is probably typical. In the beginning, this is just the Saturday pleasure of racing with self-assembled, formula-like cars.

It is also affordable and safe for the manufacturer, because in some cases only what is paid for is delivered in portions. Another advantage is that modifications are already possible during assembly, hardly anything is bought and then exchanged. Probably even the racing successes of the British in the 60s and 70s are based on the original financing by Kit Cars.

This is no longer worthwhile for the buyer, at most if it is an extremely rare body and/or that of a super sports car. But usually there is relatively cheaper technology under the glass-fibre. In addition, if the car is less than 70 years old, the laws against plagiarism still apply and manufacturers are searching for such cars.

It was thought that the beginnings of CKD were based on the famous wooden boxes of the Ford T-model, for example, at the assembly plant in Berlin after the First World War. However, it must have started much earlier. But here comes another reason for CKD, namely that some countries, like Germany at that time, wanted to give more people wages and bread by letting foreign vehicles in at most for assembly at tolerable customs duties.

A typical example of this is Spain, where the car brand 'Seat' already indicates from its name that the cars are completed Fiats. In some cases, countries and manufacturers negotiate the degree of completion of parts deliveries with each other. An example of modifications are the mid-range Seats, which were equipped with Mercedes Diesel engines and became taxis. If a completely painted body is sent, then not such a high level of qualification is required for assembly.

English subtitles possible . . .

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