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The Bug's Life: A History of the Volkswagen Beetle

Car and Driver Logo By Alexander Stoklosa of Car and Driver | Slide 1 of 37: Volkswagen’s Beetle is one of the oldest nameplates in automotive history still in use today. In the U.S., the Bug was sold between 1950 and 1979, with sales resuming as a new model introduced in 1998. But the little VW’s history stretches all the way back to 1934, when development work started in earnest in Germany. The first batch of finalized cars were birthed in 1938, only to see the gleaming new factory built to assemble them pulled into Germany's war effort and later bombed to near-oblivion. European civilians wouldn’t get their hands on the car until 1947, after production was restarted to provide ground transportation for Allied occupying troops. U.S. importation grew from a trickle in the early ’50s to a flood a decade later, and eventually 21 million Beetles would be sold worldwide. Even after U.S. sales ceased in 1979, the car continued to be built and sold in Mexico and Brazil. Over the years, very little about the Beetle changed; it wasn’t until 1998 that the car received its first major redesign. For a look at the major events in the Bug's history, continue on:

Volkswagen’s Beetle is one of the oldest nameplates in automotive history still in use today. In the US, the Bug was sold between 1950 and 1979, with sales resuming as a new model introduced in 1998. But the little VW’s history stretches all the way back to 1934, when development work started in earnest in Germany. The first batch of finalised cars were birthed in 1938, only to see the gleaming new factory built to assemble them pulled into Germany's war effort and later bombed to near-oblivion. European civilians wouldn’t get their hands on the car until 1947, after production was restarted to provide ground transportation for Allied occupying troops. US importation grew from a trickle in the early ’50s to a flood a decade later, and eventually 21 million Beetles would be sold worldwide. Even after 1979, the car continued to be built and sold in Mexico and Brazil. Over the years, very little about the Beetle changed; it wasn’t until 1998 that the car received its first major redesign. For a look at the major events in the Bug's history, continue on:
© Alexander Stoklosa

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