The Volkswagen Beetle Celebrates 65th Anniversary in the United States - Engine Builder Magazine

The Volkswagen Beetle Celebrates 65th Anniversary in the United States

vw-beetle-webThis month, the Volkswagen Beetle celebrates 65 years since it first arrived in the United States in January 1949. That year, a Volkswagen “Type 1,” or Beetle, was shipped to New York City by Ben Pon, Sr., a Dutch businessman and the world’s first official Volkswagen importer. That car—and another, subsequent Beetle—found buyers the same year, marking the first time that Volkswagen vehicles were sold in the United States.

A cultural touchstone for an entire generation and one of the most iconic cars in the world, the Beetle led to the establishment of the first Volkswagen of America headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., in October 1955. In 65 years, Volkswagen has grown from selling two Beetle models in the U.S. to a brand that offers 11 different models that are sold by 644 dealers. In 2013, Volkswagen sold 407,704 vehicles, its second straight year of selling more than 400,000 vehicles and the first time this feat had been achieved since the 1970s.

By the mid-1950s, more than 35,000 Beetle models were on the road, and by 1960, nearly 300,000 had found buyers. Americans were not only drawn to the affordability and practicality of the early Beetle, but were so charmed by its unique design, its size and its fuel economy that they’d forged an emotional bond with the cars.

“Since its arrival in the United States 65 years ago, the Volkswagen Beetle has preserved its reputation of being more than just a car, but a symbol of uniqueness and freedom,” said Michael Horn, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “The Beetle has become part of the cultural fabric in America and we are proud that its rich heritage continues to live with fans around the States.”

beetle 2-webFrom custom paint jobs to open-top Dune Buggy bodies, the Beetle fit perfectly into the counter-culture of the 1960s. By 1968, as many as 423,008 Beetle vehicles a year were being sold in the United States. In 1977, the last “Type 1” Beetle rolled off the production line in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen introduced the New Beetle in 1998, a vehicle that paid styling homage to its predecessor, although its engine was water cooled rather than air cooled, and mounted at the front rather than at the rear.

Redesigned for just the second time in history, the third-generation Beetle entered the U.S. market in 2011. While staying true to its roots, today’s Beetle would be unrecognizable to buyers in the 1950s, thanks to its combination of powerful and fuel-efficient engines, sure-footed handling, and myriad technology and safety features. In addition to being fun-to-drive, the 2014 Beetle earned a 5-star Safety Rating from the Government’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).

The third-generation Beetle sold more than 43,000 units in the United States in 2013, making it one of the most popular vehicles in the Volkswagen family, and a leading player in the market for two-door specialty coupes and convertibles.

You May Also Like

Dayco Recruits Craig Frohock as its New Aftermarket/Belt CEO

Dayco, a leading engine product and drive systems manufacturer for the automotive, heavy-duty and industrial market segments, is delighted to announce that Craig Frohock accepted the opportunity to join Dayco Aftermarket and Belts as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective January 16, 2023. Reporting directly to the Board of Dayco, Craig is responsible for the business

Dayco, a leading engine product and drive systems manufacturer for the automotive, heavy-duty and industrial market segments, is delighted to announce that Craig Frohock accepted the opportunity to join Dayco Aftermarket and Belts as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective January 16, 2023. Reporting directly to the Board of Dayco, Craig is responsible for the business unit’s global operational performance and strategic direction. 

WyoTech to Unveil New Campus Expansion

WyoTech, a leading U.S. automotive, diesel, and collision trade school, announces it will host an open house on Nov. 19 to unveil the 90,000-square-foot expansion to its Laramie, Wyoming campus. The $16 million expansion will allow the school to increase its capacity to 1,200 students to accommodate a rapidly growing enrollment. Related Articles – Holley

Holley Announces 2023 Event Dates

Holley Performance Parts has revealed the dates for its popular high-performance race events, including an all-new gathering for LS enthusiasts in Texas.  Related Articles – Nominations Open for SEMA Hall of Fame – Shelby American to Build 750hp Mustang for Carroll Shelby’s 100th Birthday – The 2023 Engine Performance EXPO Starts Today! Holley is again

2023 Drive for Diversity Driver Development Class Announced

NASCAR and Rev Racing have announced the next generation of drivers participating in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program. Following a national and international search, eight talented drivers were selected for the newest class after participating in the Advance Auto Parts Drive for Diversity Combine. Related Articles – Lucas Oil Welcomes 15th Year

Joe Morrison Teams With Herzhauser for Switch From Top Fuel to Funny Car in 2023

Joe Morrison, who gained a loyal following over his first three seasons in Top Fuel, will switch to the nitro Funny Car class in 2023, driving for East Coast-based owner Mark Herzhauser. Related Articles – Jesel Valvetrain Founder Dan Jesel Has Passed Away – Josh Steinmetz Named Hot Shot’s Secret Brand Manager – Hoonigan Co-Founder

Other Posts

NGK Spark Plugs Adds Jeffrey Schlenker as GM of Purchasing

NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.)—the Wixom, Michigan-based manufacturer of ignition parts and sensors—has announced Jeffrey Schlenker has joined the company as general manager of Purchasing.   Related Articles – Ralph Sheheen Among Inductees for 2023 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame – SEMA Statement on the Status of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act –

Ralph Sheheen Among Inductees for 2023 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame

The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame has announced its 2023 inductees, who will be honored on Saturday, June 3, for the 33rd induction ceremonies in Knoxville, Iowa. Among the names is SPEED SPORT’s Ralph Sheheen, who also serves as the host of PRI’s Grand Opening Breakfast.  Related Articles – Introducing Screen to Speed Powered

SEMA Statement on the Status of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act

SEMA and PRI must share that despite strong Congressional backing and extraordinary support from the racing community, the 2021-2022 Congressional session is ending without passage of the RPM Act. Related Articles – Hot Shot’s Secret Signs Two Year ODSS Title Sponsorship – Chris Douglas Named President, CEO of Edelbrock Group – Kyle Fickler Joins ProCharger

Race Winning Brands Strengthens MGP Connecting Rods Team

As a leading manufacturer of performance components for the automotive and powersports markets, Race Winning Brands (RWB) is proud to announce a new member of its dedicated team to further support customers and racers with the addition of Ross Clark in a Technical Sales role, focused on the MGP Connecting Rods brand with supplementary support