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Volkswagen Beetle History

Have you ever wondered where the Volkswagen Beetle’s iconic and long-lasting design came from? You may not have known, but the original Volkswagen Beetle has a long and storied history. Read below as we take you through the timeline of the Beetle’s conception, production and extended popularity!

It took a long time for the Beetle to move from conception to production, but the now-iconic compact car first emerged in 1938. The Beetle had an unmistakable and admittedly “cute” round shape. It was rear-engined and air-cooled. The original Beetle’s design was an immediate hit, and it became an iconic car throughout the 1960s. That original design motif would persist for many years until 2003, when the last of the original Beetles was produced (that last model now sits in the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfsburg).

As production wound down for the original Beetle design, a new idea began to take hold among Volkswagen designers J. Mays and Freeman Thomas. The idea simple: make a Beetle with a modern touch. The idea quickly took shape and emerged at the 1994 Detroit Auto Show as the Volkswagen Concept 1. The press and fans responded very favorably to the idea. The Concept 1 was immediately green-lighted for production. The new Volkswagen New Beetle hit the market in 1998.

On the outside, the New Beetle paid much respect to the exterior design of the original Beetle. There was no mistaking that the new Beetle was a descendant of the original Beetle. Going beyond its appearance though, the Beetle borrowed a lot from the VW Golf. This is exactly what the new design needed to transform into a modern contender. It was now liquid-cooled and front-engined.

The Volkswagen Beetle underwent another transformation in 2011. In addition to being called simply “Volkswagen Beetle” again (as opposed to New Beetle), the Beetle design showed an evolution with new features, a more assertive look, and a more spacious interior being introduced. Two years later, Volkswagen added a convertible model.

The best way to get to know the new Beetle is to get behind the wheel of one of these iconic cars! Contact Gossett Volkswagen Germantown today to take a 2016 Beetle out for a test drive. Our dealership also offers a wide range of used cars that changes regularly – check for Beetles in our inventory! Gossett is proud to serve the areas of Memphis, Collierville and Germantown.


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