Despite its unfortunate origin (the 'Volkswagen' was after all an idea of Hitler, an admirer of the equally anti-Semitic Henry Ford, to make the people mobile), the Volkswagen Beetle already had a mythically poetic cult value in the 1960s. Volkswagen Beetles were ridden by flower children as a symbol for the revolution, for 'downsizing'. At that time De Kever stood for the "small is beautiful" ethos as appointed by EF Schumacher.
Volkswagen Beetles in South America
The Volkswagen Beetle was also the car that became part of the mobile and cultural growth in Brazil. In any case, insects do well on that continent. There the production continued until 1993. The Volkswagen Beetle was called 'Fusca' there. The first Beetles in Brazil were simply assembled, but from 1959 the cars were 100% 'made in Brazil'.
Volkswagen do Brazil
The Volkswagen Beetle was a hit in Brazil and he continued to lead the sales lists from 1954 through the swinging sixties and the troubled seventies up to 1980. In its heyday, in 1967 its market share was more than 50%. More than 1972 copies were made in 250.000. The 'Fusca' was the most popular car in Brazil.
And despite his peculiarities and shortcomings, he has firmly established himself in the Brazilian collective memory. Volkswagen Beetles were used there as well as a taxi in Mexico. Despite the two-door concept. They were also used for abductions. Because the hostage could not escape through a back door.
The Volkswagen Beetles were an unexpected success
Of course, no one expected such a worldwide, long-term success of this ingenious piece of simplicity, when the first Volkswagens rolled off the production line at the Wolfsburg factory after the end of WWII. The 'miracle with its rear engine' grew and flourished due to the excellent marketing and production quality.
In the late 'fifties' and early 'sixties', VW even put the Beetle on the market as a 'cult model', as an 'anti car'. As an 34 pk strong workhorse in which it could get very hot, was uncomfortable and where switching was a challenge. With that approach, the Volkswagen Beetle became an anti-status symbol. So again to a status symbol.
The future in The States.
VW boss Heinz Nordhoff thought in the sixties that the future of the Volkswagen Beetle had to lie in America. That is why Volkswagen set up 'Volkswagen of America' in 1968. The result was overwhelming and in the five years there, cars were sold on 3.000.000 in the USA. In addition, cinema films such as 'The Love Bug' and 'Herbie' helped stimulate the sale of 'the ugly little family car everyone loved'.
Don't change what's right
Just like with the T Ford, which once inspired Hitler, VW hardly changed the design until the last Volkswagen Beetle in 2003 in Mexico left the band. There in Mexico, until then, stubbornly continued the production of Beetles for the Latin American market. But everything comes to an end.
The New Beetle proposed in 1998 has therefore not had any chance to succeed its predecessor. At first there were only a few female buyers. Making the looks 'tougher' didn't really help much.