Volkswagen Beetle (03:29)
Volkswagen once claimed the Beetle was the most famous mass-produced shape in the world. A large cult following praises it as a classic automotive design; nonbelievers criticize the Beetle as noisy, uncomfortable, and difficult to service.
Nazi Origins (04:39)
The Volkswagen was to be a symbol of Adolf Hitler’s new Germany of the 1930s. The Nazi leader commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to develop a prototype that featured a unique design. The cornerstone of the factory was laid in 1938.
Delivery Delays (06:36)
Germans bought savings stamps toward the purchase of inexpensive Kdf-Wagens, but they were not delivered; the factory was commandeered for the Nazi war effort. The factory reopened after the war with the help of British Major Ivan Hirst.
Beetle Reputation (04:17)
Volkswagen gradually convinced consumers the car's performance and reliability more than made up for its grim origins. Americans especially fell in love with the car, which stood in stark contrast to the creations of Detroit automakers.
Decline of the Beetle (04:29)
Volkswagen produced other cars, but the Beetle remained the company’s bestseller. By 1972, the company produced over 15 million, breaking the previous record held by the Model-T Ford. The Beetle’s popularity declined later in the decade and Volkswagen ceased production.
Credits: Design Classics: The Volkswagen Beetle (00:23)
Credits: Design Classics: The Volkswagen Beetle
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