Currywurst is a snack with serious cult status. Germans eat an estimated 800 million each year. And perhaps surprisingly, the pork sausage – sliced and smothered with curry ketchup – is Volkswagen’s bestselling product.

Listed as item number 199 398 500 A, the Volkswagen currywurst is celebrating its 45th birthday. Last year alone, the automaker made 6.8 million sausages – more than the number of VW vehicles sold worldwide.

The current recipe dates back to 1976, and remains a closely guarded secret. Made in-house by a team of 30 – “most of them trained butchers” – currywurst has become a beloved Volkswagen staple.

It’s served in factory cafeterias, gifted by the five-pack to customers, and sold in grocery stores under the brand name “Volkswagen Originalteil” (“original parts”).

“Three times a week, the (flagship plant in Wolfsburg) takes in fresh pork from nearby farms and grinds choice cuts into a precise mix,”

“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. “

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