February 23, 2024 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Friday Joke — How fast can it go?


Was the VW bug a fast car? I’ve never looked into it but I’ll go out on a limb and wager that most people thought the VW Bug was a cute car.

While it’s not necessarily about the VW going fast, Matthew Keegan from Auto Trends Magazine produced a list of “7 Facts About the Volkswagen Beetle.” Keegan informs us that, “Years before it showed up on our shores, the Beetle design was established, the work of Ferdinand Porsche.

In 2014, Volkswagen marked the 65th anniversary of the Beetle in America, with 5.5 million models sold stateside since it was first imported.”*

Herein is an abbreviated version of Keegan’s “7 Facts About the Volkswagen Beetle.“*

  1. “The ‘Beetle’ wasn’t the first name Volkswagen used for its ‘people’s car.’ It was originally known simply as ‘Type 1’ or as ‘the Volkswagen,’ with Germans affectionately calling it ‘Kafer’ or ‘Beetle’ even before it was sold abroad.”
  2. “The original Volkswagen Beetle floats. At least it does for a few minutes. That car had a sealed steel bottom with nothing exposed beneath it. Its body was airtight, leading to Volkswagen creating a television commercial demonstrating that the Beetle, indeed, floated. Volkswagen added a disclaimer at the end of the commercial stating, ‘The VW will definitely float, but it will not float indefinitely.’”
  3. “In the 1960s as young people began to embrace a counter-culture lifestyle, the Beetle’s appeal surged. Its simple, even cute design were important factors as was its price: it cost less than $2,000.”
  4. “The last of the first-generation Volkswagen Beetle were built in Germany in 1977, with production then shifted to Brazil and Mexico. The Brazilian factory continued to produce Beetles until 1986, but the Mexican factory produced them until 2003. However, the Latin American models were never exported to the US, which was then served by the replacement Rabbit, known as the Volkswagen Golf elsewhere.”
  5. “Volkswagen revived the Beetle name in 1998, calling the model the ‘New Beetle’ to distinguish it from the original. It represented the second of three distinctive ‘Beetle’ models ever built, but its relationship to the original was in name only.”
  6. “If you replace the New Beetle with something new, should it be called the New New Beetle? Wisely, Volkswagen simply reverted to using ‘Beetle’ for the most recent of the three distinctive models to bear the iconic model’s name. Introduced to the US market for 2012, the current iteration shares its platform with the Volkswagen Jetta and is larger than both earlier Beetle models. Like the New Beetle, that ‘current’ Beetle is front-engine and front-wheel drive, with more modern engine and transmission choices as well as the latest in-cabin technologies. It is also the first US-spec Beetle to offer a diesel engine.”
  7. “The current iteration of the Volkswagen Beetle falls under the two-door specialty coupe and convertible category. In 2013, Beetle sales topped 43,000 units in America alone, becoming one of the most popular models in Volkswagen’s 11-model-line family. Sales, however, began to fall in ensuing years, and are now less than half what they were at their current-generation peak. That said, Volkswagen discontinued Beetle production in 2019, some 80 years after the original model rolled out.”

Content source/credit: Auto Trends Magazine, “7 Facts About the Volkswagen Beetle,” by Michael Keegan, July 29, 2022.

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