Volkswagen Beetle: Simply a Classic

Volkswagen Beetle

This is the car that keeps on selling, 21 million in its first incarnation. It has been doing the numbers since we can remember. When the Beatles were still making hit records, the Volkswagen Beetle was over three decades into production. The Beetle is a remarkable car and has the greatest marketing campaign to date to add to its honours. “Think small” was the sort of marketing genius that drove the masses to VW dealers in the 60s. One lesson we can all learn from the Beetle is never underestimate the power of simplicity.

What’s in a Name?

Volkswagen is German for the “people’s car”. Volks which stood for “people’s” was an epithet that was held in high regard by the Nazi regime, and was used on other it Nazi-sponsored consumer goods like the Volksempfänger meaning “people’s radio.” Informally, the Beetle is known as the Käfer in Germany which means “beetle,” and it is also recognized as the Bug in the US. It has a few other names like the Coccinelle in France which is French for “lady bird,” the Maggiolino in Italy and as the Fusca in Brazil.

The History

There is a huge misconception that Ferdinand Porsche was the author of this timeless classic. Actually that honour belongs to Joseph Genz who is a Jewish engineer. Adolf Hitler made sure that Joseph’s name wouldn’t feature in the history books, as he stole the idea, when he saw it at an auto show in 1933. Hitler then met up with Ferdinand Porsche, whom he commissioned to build a Volkswagen (people’s car). Later in 1934, Hitler had another meeting where he gave clearer instructions. The Volkswagen needed to be able to seat two adults and three children while driving them at 100 km/h and utilizing 7 litres per 100 km. These were just some of the demands Hitler made. Porsche then went on about his business and produced some prototypes until he arrived at the Volkswagen Beetle Type 1 in 1938, which went on to be in production until 2003.

The Type 1 was replaced by the New Beetle which was inspired by the original Beetle, but it had its own identity. The New Beetle lasted in production from 1997-2011. In the New Beetle the engine was moved from the rear to the front.

The Current Model

Our current Beetle was launched on the finale of Oprah’s Favorite Things special in November 2010. Oprah and VW announced to the audience that they would get the new Beetle upon its release in 2011. Each member of the audience got a special key handed to them by VW staff. This VW features more of the original insights that the Type 1 had.

Volkswagen Beetle

The Variants

The Beetle (A5) is available as either a hatchback or convertible.

The Powertrain

Powering the Beetle are a set of petrol and diesel engines. However, it’s important to note that the TDI (diesel) engines have been stop-saled for going against EPA regulations.  The diesel engines that are affected are two a 1.6L four cylinder and a 2.0L four cylinder.

The available petrol engines (TSI) are:

  • 2L four cylinder
  • 4L four cylinder
  • 0L four cylinder
  • 5L five cylinder

The Interior

For the interior Volkswagen have kept up the classic look but have endowed it with the latest in tech. Most interestingly, Android Auto, Apple CarPaly and MirrorLink are all available.

The Exterior

The car has featured some design cues from the Type 1 but it looks a lot curvier. Personally, I like it and I think it has done well to endear itself to yet another generation of auto fans.

Our Verdict

How do you rate a classic, how is anyone to write unbiasedly without their thoughts being clouded by the car’s history? However, as a contemporary car the Beetle does what you want it to do and more. Since the 60s the Beetle has been for those who want to set themselves apart from the mainstream. Well, the new Beetle keeps this proud tradition in a more contemporary design. However, don’t make any mistake this Beetle has evolved its nothing like its past predecessors. It just doesn’t sell solely the “I want to be different,” pitch, but it also has comfort and a great ride to argue its case.

Purchasing a new Beetle will start with you budgeting from $ 19,595.

Has the current Beetle lost its identity or is it the same compact car we all fell in love with? Have your say, leave a comment.

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Cris Shaki

Passionate about cars, tech, people, business, history, art & writing. I also enjoy being a graphic designer and web designer.

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