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VW Celebrates 65 Years of Beetle in America

Three generations later, car is integral to maker’s US success.

by on Jan.31, 2014

Volkwagen's history in the United States is captured in this photo of the 2014 Beetle, left, and the 1949 Beetle, right.

One of the key elements of the German post-World War II economic miracle has reached something a milestone this month.

The Volkswagen Beetle, one of the reborn German auto industry’s most enduring and fabled icons, celebrates 65 years since it first arrived in the United States. In January 1949, a Volkswagen “Type 1,” or Beetle, was shipped to New York City. Sent to Ben Pon, Sr., who was a Dutch businessman and the world’s first official Volkswagen importer.

World View!

It was the first time the Beetle, which went on to become something of a counter-culture staple by the 1960s, was sold in the United States. In fact, sales skyrocketed by 100% after the first one was arrived: VW sent a second one that year and it sold too. (more…)