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Want your own "little Sputnik?" You may soon get the chance.
Even so, East Germans had to wait up to 15 years to get their hands on a Trabant. Some 3 million cars were made before production stopped in April 1991. Some 40,000 are still registered in Germany today.
The old Trabant had one green credential: The body was made of a material called Duroplast — a resin plastic reinforced by waste cotton from Russia — making it the first mass produced vehicle to use recycled organic materials.
So why would people buy a new and greener version, 20 years after unification? “ I would buy a new improved Trabant,” said Sabine Anton, a filmmaker, who left East Berlin two years before the Wall came down. “At least something of East Germany would survive."
There is even a word for those looking to cash in on warm feelings for the old German Democratic Republic: Ostalgie, which combines the German words for east (ost) and nostalgia (nostalgie). A recent poll showed that 20 years after unification, 57 percent of East Germans are defending the old system of the GDR, saying there was more good than bad about it.
And that may include — its investors hope, anyway — a new boxy car with a proud old name.