The German auto maker’s “part no. 199 398 500 A” was a pack of sausages.
Wurst news ever: In 2015 and 2017, Volkswagen sold more sausages than cars. (This should come as no surprise, since sausages have both a lower overhead cost and a lower purchase price than the average car.) But the remarkable popularity of the Volkswagen Originalteil (German for “original part”) landed the auto maker a space in the tubular meats hall of fame.
In 1973, the company started making the currywurst sausages, known as “item no. 199 398 500 A” in the Volkswagen factory, at the company headquarters in Wolfsburg. Meant as a breakfast or lunch item in the company’s cafeteria, the sausages were served whole or chopped up and tossed with Volkswagen’s own factory-made curry-flavored ketchup. By 2019, 30 kitchen staffers, most of them trained butchers, had been put solely on weiner duty, making 18,000 sausages every day. The pork was sourced from local farms, and the recipe, which included curry powder, pepper, and ginger, was a company secret. The finished product was even shipped in packs of five to VW dealerships all over the country, who then gifted it to customers after a successful sale.
While the company once recognized the sausage as its “most popular non-vehicle part,” all good things must unfortunately come to an end. In 2021, Volkswagen stopped making the Originalteil.