The Volkswagen Beetle hit American roads 65 years ago this month, and it shows no signs of retirement.
The first Volkswagen was imported to New York in 1949 by a Dutch businessman, Ben Pon, Sr., and since then sales of the iconic car had increased rapidly.
For instance, in the mid-1950s, an estimated 35,000 Beetles were sold, and by 1960, the figure was up to 300,000. Last year alone, Volkswagen sold over 43,000 units in the U.S., making its overall sales to over 30 million in the country.
The Beetle has been redesigned twice, and the third generation Beetle, which entered the U.S. market in 2011, has become one of the most popular vehicles in the Volkswagen family.
From selling just two models of the Beetle, today, Volkswagen has grown to a brand that offers 11 different models that are sold by 644 dealers.
While practicality and affordability were the two factors that attracted Americans to the early model, the unique design, fuel economy and size became an added benefit in the later years.
"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, in a statement. "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."
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