Very few cars have had such a major impact on the automotive industry as the Volkswagen Beetle. It was at the forefront of the import invasion of the 1950s and 1960s. This “People’s Car” was the first vehicle a Volkswagen dealer was expected to sell.
The Beetle Revolution
The first Beetles appeared on a Volkswagen dealer car lot after World War Two. It was the beginning of a trend of vehicles with rear-engine and rear-wheel-drive layouts and it arrived in time to cater to a new American market segment. It was a compact car made to hold a couple of people comfortably and two or more in the back. The cargo space was under the hood.
Early versions offered a rough ride – they were the opposite of luxury and comfort. However, for young people, small families and those rebelling against heavier cars, the Beetle offered various advantages. It was
- Gas efficient
- Easy to repair
- Fun to drive
However, what drove its sales was its price. The Volkswagen Beetle was infinitely affordable.
The Revolution Ends
The Beetle thrived into the 1960s. As this era ended, it began to fade in popularity and sales. Volkswagen decided to move on. In the 1970s, a Volkswagen dealer in Philadelphia could now offer customers options – the Rabbit/the Golf and the Polo. Both were small vehicles that were more in tune with consumer tastes and needs. The Beetle lingered but, in 2003, it was sent off with a bang to that Great Auto Show in the Sky.