Volkswagen’s Life-time Crowning Success: The VW Beetle
During the mid 1970’s, my friend Ruff, drove his VW Volkswagen Bug all over Germany.
He wasn’t the only one who loved this odd duck vehicle.
When it comes to iconic cars, few tick as many boxes as the Volkswagen Beetle. With its curved profile, single bulbous eye and distinctive ‘VW’ logo, the Beetle is one of the most recognizable cars in history. And for good reason: It has been produced for 66 years. From 1945 to 2003 and again from 2011, this small and affordable car has kept on coming back. Since its inception as a people’s car with an affordable price tag, the humble Beetle has risen to become one of VW’s most successful models of all time. Let’s take a look at its glorious past — and exciting future — as we explore the story of the VW Beetle. Read on to learn more about this iconic car and its amazing history…
1945: The first ever Volkswagen Beetle
The first Beetle rolled off the production line in 1945, just after the end of the Second World War. Designed as a cheap and simple car for the masses, this initial Beetle was a very basic, spartan car. It came with very few standard features; a single windscreen wiper, an AM radio and a 22-horsepower engine. Despite its lack of luxurious comforts, the Beetle was an instant hit. In fact, its first year of production saw over 22,000 cars sold. The car’s extreme popularity continued throughout the 1950s, with over 1 million Beetles being sold in that decade alone.
1949–1967: Growing Pains
After a decade of success, the Beetle began to show its age. By the end of the 1950s, the car was looking seriously outdated and rather basic compared to newer models. Although the sales figures remained high, Volkswagen struggled to keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing market. In the face of new and innovative technology, the old Beetle was being left behind. In 1961, Volkswagen attempted to rectify the situation with the introduction of the fresh-faced ‘Type 3’ model. However, the new car still fell short of the expectations of industry experts. In the face of what was an increasingly complex and modern…