Volkswagen’s best-selling product is item number 199 398 500 A, and it’s a currywurst, and life is just so beautiful and surprising sometimes, you know?
Volkswagen Originalteil (“original parts”) is made at the company’s flagship plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, and has been a staple for the automaker for 45 years. According to VW, the sausage is made (literally, not metaphorically) by a team of 30, “most of them trained butchers.”
Three times a week, the plant takes in fresh pork from nearby farms and grinds choice cuts into a precise mix. “Our currywurst has a fat content of only 20 percent. Normally, it’s around 35 percent,” explains Head Butcher Franco Lo Presti, who has been making VW currywurst since 1979.
After mixing in the spices and packed into casings, the sausages are dried, smoked over beechwood and steamed for 100 minutes at 176 degrees. The final product is weighed, inspected and packaged for shipping to other Volkswagen plants or retailers, with a typical output of 18,000 sausages a day.
Before you get excited, it’s not available in the United States. VW notes that their fresh currywurst can’t be imported here, though there have been instances when they’ve flown the butchers to the U.S. to make the sausage here, with local ingredients. It’s widely available in Europe, however, and is sometimes given as a gift to new Volkswagen drivers in Germany. CNET reports that there’s also a vegetarian option, so that’s awesome.
Last year VW made nearly 7 million of the sausages, which are described as having a “strong yellow curry flavor, but with a kick from the pepper and ginger in the spices,” the result of a secret recipe known to only a few people. They also make ketchup.