The Volkswagen Beetle, officially called the Volkswagen Type 1 (or informally the Volkswagen Bug), is an economy car produced by the German auto maker (VW) from 1938 until 2003. The Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single design anywhere in the world.
Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 onwards, when the model was internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the "Volkswagen".
The model became widely known in its home country as the Käfer (German for "Beetle") and was later marketed as such in Germany, and as the Volkswagen Beetle in other countries.
"The People's Car"
In 1933, Hitler gave the order to Ferdinand Porsche to develop a Volkswagen (literally, "people's car" in German. Hitler required a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children at 62 mph (100km/h). The car was designed to be as simple as possible mechanically, so that there was less to go wrong;
On May 26, 1938, Hitler spoke at the Volkswagen factory in Fallersleben, he said:
"Hence, I believe there is only one name that can be given to this car, a name I shall give to it on this very evening. It shall bear the name of that organization that strives to instil both joy and strength in the masses. The name shall be: Strength through Joy Car!
After World War II, it was known as the Volkswagen Type 1, but became more commonly known as the Beetle.
Introduction to the UK
The first Volkswagen Beetle dealer in the UK was J.Gilder & Co. Ltd. in Sheffield, which began selling Volkswagens in 1953. Jack Gilder had been fascinated by both the design and engineering of the Beetle when he came across one in Belgium during the war. He applied for the franchise as soon as the opportunity presented itself and became Volkswagen's representative in the North of England.
1953-1957 saw the first design changes to the standard model, following further significant changes for the 1967 model. 1971 then saw the introduction of the Super Beetle.
The Beetle Cabriolet began production in 1949 by Karmann in Osnabrück. It was in 1948 when Wilhelm Karmann bought a VW Beetle sedan and converted it into a four-seated convertible. After successfully presenting it at VW in Wolfsburg, production started in 1949. After a number of stylistic and technical alterations made to the Karmann cabriolet (corresponding to the many changes VW made to the Beetle throughout its history), the last of 331,847 cabriolets came off the conveyor belt on 10 January 1980.
Worldwide end of productionNew Volkswagen Beetle
By 2002, over 21 million Type 1s had been produced, but by 2003, annual production had dropped to 30,000 from a peak of 1.3 million in 1971. VW announced the end of production in June 2003.
The Volkswagen New Beetle is a compact car, introduced by Volkswagen in 1998, drawing heavy inspiration from the exterior design of the original Beetle. Unlike the original Beetle, the New Beetle has its engine in the front driving the front wheels, with luggage storage in the rear. Many special editions have been released, such as the Malibu Barbie New Beetle.] In May 2010, Volkswagen announced that production of the current body of the New Beetle will cease in 2011.
In 2012, a new model replaced the New Beetle, called simply the Volkswagen Beetle.