Volkswagen Beetle – Dale’s Daily Data
It was interesting to see that Volkswagen this week introduced what they called the re-invented Beetle. The Associated Press says the car “that evolved from the hippie ride of choice to a cute chick car” is being reinvented again. In its first overhaul since 1998 the company debuted a new sleeker design with a flatter roof, a slightly longer hood, narrower windows and a crease along the sides. But looking at it there’s no doubt it’s a VW Bug. That basic design hasn’t changed in more than 70 years since it was first introduced.
By the way it was German dictator Adolph Hitler who at the 1933 Berlin Auto Show spoke about a new family car that any family could afford because at that time only the wealthy could afford them. A short time afterwards he got together with Ferdinand Porche who had the same vision. Hitler told him the car he had in mind must be able to carry 3 adults and two children. It should get 42 miles per gallon of gas and be able to travel at speeds of up to 65 miles an hour. Hitler even drew a sketch of what he thought the car should look like at a restaurant table. And that sketch is almost exactly what the Volkswagen Beetle turned out to be. He even had a name for it – Volkswagen meaning “the people’s car”.
The first American Volkswagen dealership opened up in New Jersey in 1955. It was also the same year Volkswagen sold its 1-millionth car and for the first time moved past the 1-thousand cars a day production benchmark.
It took about a decade for Volkswagen to make a serious dent, but by the mid 1960’s, the Volkswagen bug almost single-handedly ended Detroit’s dominance. By that time Americans were taking a serious look at foreign made cars as an option. Later when other foreign-built cars were percieved to be better built than what the Big Three were putting out it almost ended the American car building industry altogether.