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On 17 February Beetle No. Though extremely successful in the s, experiencing its greatest sales growth in North America between and , the Beetle was increasingly faced with stiff competition from more modern designs globally.
The Japanese had refined rear-wheel-drive, water-cooled, front-engine, small cars including the Datsun and Toyota Corona , whose sales in the North American market grew rapidly at the expense of Volkswagen in the late s.
Honda introduced the N , based on the space-efficient transverse-engine, front-wheel-drive layout of the original Austin Mini , to the North American market in late , and upgraded the model to the Honda Civic in The Japanese "big three" would soon dominate compact auto sales in North America.
In Ford introduced its Pinto , which had some market impact as a low cost alternative in the wake of the drop of the US Dollar against the Deutschmark that same year.
As the s came to a close, Volkswagen faced increasingly stiff competition from European cars as well. The Beetle was faced with competition from new designs like the Fiat and Renault 5 , and more robust designs based on the Austin Mini layout such as the Superminis.
German competitors, Ford and Opel also enjoyed strong sales of modern smaller cars like the Ford Escort and Opel Kadett. Safety issues with the Beetle came under increasing scrutiny, culminating in the release of a rather scathing report.
None of these models, aimed at more upscale markets, achieved the level of success of the Beetle. The over-reliance on a single model, now in decline, meant that Volkswagen was in financial crisis by Production lines at Wolfsburg switched to the new water-cooled, front-engined, front-wheel-drive Golf designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in , sold in North America at the time as the "Rabbit".
It was periodically redesigned over its lifetime, with only a few components carried over between generations, entering its seventh generation in ; the Beetle had only minor refinements of its original design.
The Golf did not kill Beetle production, nor did the smaller Polo which was launched a year later. Production of the Beetle continued in smaller numbers at other German factories until 19 January , when mainstream production shifted to Brazil and Mexico: After this shift in production, sales in Europe did not stop, but became very low.
Beetle sedans were produced for U. The last Beetle was produced in Puebla , Mexico, in July Production in Brazil ended in , then started again in and continued until The Beetle outlasted most other cars which had adopted the rear-engine, air-cooled layout such as those by Subaru , Fiat , and General Motors.
By , over 21 million Type 1s had been produced, but by , annual production had dropped to 30, from a peak of 1. Each car included the 1.
A mariachi band serenaded production of the last car. In Mexico, there was an advertising campaign as a goodbye for the Beetle. In one of the ads was a very small parking space on the street, and many big cars tried to use it, but could not.
After a while, a sign appears in that parking space saying: Another depicted the rear end of a Beetle the year Volkswagen was established in Mexico in the left side of the ad, reading " Erase una vez Other ads also had the same nostalgic tone.
In , Volkswagen prototyped a 1. Volkswagen made only two of these naturally aspirated, air-cooled boxer diesel engines, and installed one engine in a Type 1 and another in a Type 2.
The Beetle featured a rear-located, rear-wheel drive, air-cooled four-cylinder, boxer engine in a two-door bodywork featuring a flat front windscreen, accommodating four passengers and providing luggage storage under the front bonnet and behind the rear seat—and offering a coefficient of drag of 0.
The bodywork attached with eighteen bolts to its nearly flat platform chassis which featured a central structural tunnel.
Front and rear suspension featured torsion bars along with front stabilizer bar—providing independent suspension at all wheels.
Certain initial features were subsequently revised, including mechanical drum brakes, split-window rear windows, mechanical direction-indicators and the non-synchronized gearbox.
Other features, including its distinctive overall shape, endured. In fact, the Beetle was prized for its seemingly unchanged appearance and "marketed to American consumers as the anti-GM and Ford: Its engine, transmission, and cylinder heads were constructed of light alloy.
Later models of the carburetor featured an automatic choke. Engine intake air passed through a metallic filter, while heavier particles were captured by an oil bath.
After , steering featured a hydraulic damper that absorbed steering irregularities. Throughout its production, VW marketed the Beetle with a four-speed manual transmission.
From and almost exclusively in Europe ,  VW offered an optional version of the Saxomat semi-automatic transmission: Subsequently, beginning in in Europe and in the United States , VW offered an optional semi-automatic transmission marketed as Automatic Stick Shift and also called AutoStick , [ citation needed ] which was a 3-speed manual coupled to an electro-pneumatic clutch and torque converter.
It was in that Wilhelm Karmann first bought a VW Beetle sedan and converted it into a four-seated convertible. The convertible was more than a Beetle with a folding top.
To compensate for the strength lost in removing the roof, the sills were reinforced with welded U-channel rails, a transverse beam was fitted below the front edge of the rear seat cushion, and the side cowl-panels below the instrument panel were double-wall.
In addition, the lower corners of the door apertures had welded-in curved gussets, and the doors had secondary alignment wedges at the B-pillar.
The top was cabriolet-style with a full inner headliner hiding the folding mechanism and crossbars. The rear window was tempered safety glass, and after , heated.
Due to the thickness of the top, it remained quite tall when folded. To enable the driver to see over the lowered top, the inside rearview was mounted on an offset pivot.
The convertible was generally more lavishly equipped than the sedan with dual rear ashtrays, twin map pockets, a visor vanity mirror on the passenger side, rear stone shields, and through , wheel trim rings.
Many of these items did not become available on other Beetles until the advent of the optional "L" Luxus Package of After a number of stylistic and technical alterations made to the Karmann cabriolet,  corresponding to the many changes VW made to the Beetle throughout its history , the last of , cabriolets came off the production line on 10 January During this period, a myriad of changes were made throughout the vehicle beginning with the availability of hydraulic brakes and a folding fabric sunroof in The rear window of the VW Beetle evolved from a divided or "split" oval, to a singular oval.
The change occurred between October and March The brake light function was transferred to new heart-shaped lamps located in the top of the taillight housings.
In , the separate brake lights were discontinued and were combined into a new larger taillight housing. The traditional VW semaphore turn signals were replaced by conventional flashing directional indicator lamps for North America.
For , the Beetle received what would become one of its more distinctive features, a set of twin chrome tailpipes.
Models for North America gained taller bumper guards and tubular overrider bars. For , the Beetle received a revised instrument panel, and a larger rectangular rear window replaced the previous oval design.
For , significant technical advances occurred in the form of a new engine and transmission. The single-barrel Solex carburetor received an electric automatic choke and the transmission was now synchronized on all forward gears.
The traditional semaphore turn signals were replaced by conventional flashing directional indicators worldwide.
For , the Beetle received a mechanical fuel level gauge in place of the former fuel tap. The Standard model continued without a gas gauge until the end of the model year.
At the rear, larger tail lights were introduced incorporating a separate amber turn signal section to meet new European standards these turn signals remained red in the US market until The former hand-pump style windscreen washer was replaced by a new design using compressed air.
The largest change to date for the Beetle was in The result was a more open, airy, modern look. Models so equipped carried a "" badge on the engine lid.
The cc engine was standard for North America. For , a yet-again larger- displacement engine was made available: North America received the engine as standard equipment, but did not receive front disc brakes.
These models were identified by a "Volkswagen" badge on the engine lid. The rear suspension was significantly revised and included a widened track, softer torsion bars and the addition of a unique Z-configuration equalizing torsion spring.
The clutch disc also increased in size and changes were made to the flywheel. In accord with the newly enacted US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard , North American models received a dual-circuit brake system, the clear glass headlamp covers were deleted; the headlamps were brought forward to the leading edge of the front fenders, and the sealed-beam units were exposed and surrounded by chrome bezels.
In the rest of the world markets the model retained the older headlights. Another oddity of the North American market Beetle is the rear bumper overriders towel rails — the overriders have a different shape than the older models besides the one-year only engine decklid.
The most noticeable of which were the new larger, higher mounted C-section bumpers. At the rear, new larger taillamps were adopted and were able to accommodate reversing lamps, which were previously separate bumper-mounted units.
Other improvements were a new outside gas filler with spring-loaded flap, eliminating the need to open the trunk to refuel.
The fuel gauge was integrated with the speedometer and was now electrically actuated rather than cable-operated. A number of safety improvements were made in order to comply with new American safety regulations: US models received a padded instrument panel that was optional in other markets.
A new 3-speed semi-automatic gear box with torque converter and vacuum-operated clutch became available mid-production year. The semi-automatic models received a vastly improved semi-trailing-arm rear suspension also known as "independent rear suspension" although the earlier swing axle Beetles were also independent and eliminated the need for the equalizing torsion spring.
This new rear suspension layout would eventually become an option on later models. Beetles equipped with the automatic were identified with a "VW Automatic" badge on the engine lid and a matching decal in the rear window.
For , the only exterior change was the fuel filler flap no longer had a finger indentation due to a new interior-mounted fuel door release.
In other markets, manual transmission models retained a swing axle independent suspension which would continue until the end of German Beetle production.
In , a new "L" Luxus Package was introduced including, among other items, twin map pockets, dual rear ashtrays, full carpeting, a passenger-side visor vanity mirror, and rubber bumper moldings.
There were two Beetles for the first time in , the familiar standard Beetle and a new, larger version, different from the windscreen forward. All Beetles received an engine upgrade: The ventilation system was improved with the original dash-top vents augmented by a second pair aimed directly at the driver and passenger.
For the first time the system was a flow-through design with crescent-shaped air exits fitted behind the rear quarter windows. Airflow could be increased via an optional 2-speed fan.
The standard Beetle was now badged as the VW ; when equipped with the engine, it was badged S, to avoided confusion with the Type 3, which wore VW badges.
The new suspension layout allowed the spare tire to be positioned flat under the trunk floor. Although the car had to be lengthened slightly to accomplish this, it allowed a reduction in turning radius.
To gain additional trunk volume, the under-dash panel [ clarification needed ] was lowered, allowing the fuel tank to be shifted rearward.
From the windscreen back the big Beetle was identical to its smaller progenitor, except for having the also new semi-trailing arm rear suspension as standard equipment.
Both Beetles were available with or without the L Package. The convertible was now based on the body. While it lacked the front disc brakes that normally accompanied the larger motor, it was fitted with brake drums that were slightly larger than the standard Beetle.
With the Super Beetle being sold as the premium model in North America, the standard Beetle, while retaining the same cc engine, was stripped of many of its earlier features in order to reduce the selling price.
An engine compartment socket for the proprietary VW Diagnosis system was also introduced. The rear luggage area was fitted with a folding parcel shelf.
In the engine bay, the oil-bath air cleaner gave way to a dry element filter, and the generator was replaced with an alternator.
The changes to the cowl and windshield resulted in slight redesign of the front hood. The instrument panel, formerly shared with the standard Beetle, was all-new and incorporated a raised speedometer pod, rocker-style switches and side-window defrosters.
Front and rear deck lids were finished in matte black, as was all exterior trim with the exception of the chrome headlamp bezels.
Inside were corduroy and leatherette high-bolstered sport seats and a small diameter three-spoke steering wheel with padded leather rim and a small red VW logo  on the bottom spoke.
In some markets, the sport wheels in both 4. On the Super Beetle, the steering knuckle, and consequently the lower attachment point of the strut, was redesigned to improve handling and stability in the event of a tire blowout.
A limited-edition Big Beetle was introduced based on the LS. Available in unique metallic paint colors, the car featured styled-steel 5.
Both were finished in metallic gold and featured styled-steel 4. Inside were brown corduroy and leatherette seats, loop-pile carpet, and padded four-spoke deluxe steering wheel.
The Super Beetle Sun Bug included a sliding-steel sunroof. In , front turn indicators were moved from the top of the front fenders down into the bumper.
At the rear, the license plate light housing was now molded of plastic with a ribbed top surface. To comply with tightening emission standards, the cc engine in Japanese and North American markets received Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, rather than the D-Jetronic system formerly used in the VW Type 3 and Type 4.
The injected engine received a new muffler and in California a catalytic converter. This necessitated a bulge in the rear apron under the rear bumper and replaced the distinctive twin "pea shooter" tailpipes with a single offset pipe, making injected models identifiable at a glance.
The received rack and pinion steering. Mid-year, the Love Bug was introduced for North America: A price leader, the Love Bug retailed for less than a standard Beetle.
To make up for the loss in North American markets, the standard Beetle was upgraded, regaining some of the features that were removed in In addition, the 2-speed ventilation fan was included, previously available in North America only on the larger Beetle.
The automatic stickshift option was discontinued as well. This was the final model year for the Beetle sedan in North America. The convertible was offered in a "triple white" Champagne Edition in Alpine White with white top and interior with the padded deluxe steering wheel, tiger maple wood-grain dash trim and 4.
Approximately 1, Champagne Editions were produced. For , a new Champagne 2nd Edition convertible was launched, available in blue or red metallic paint with white leatherette interior.
Features included the 4. Approximately 1, were produced. In , VW offered an Epilogue Edition of the convertible in triple black with features similar to the Champagne Edition.
This would be the last year of convertible production worldwide as well as the final year for the Beetle in the USA and Canada.
Hitler saw the car in at an auto show. These small cars were designed according to the patents by Josef Ganz and featured transverse, two-stroke, two-cylinder engines mounted in front of the rear axle.
In , Tatra built the V prototype, which had an air-cooled flat-twin engine mounted at the rear. Both Hitler and Porsche were influenced by the Tatras.
It also featured a similar central structural tunnel found in the Beetle. Just before the start of the Second World War, Tatra had ten legal claims filed against VW for infringement of patents.
The vehicles were assembled in a former tram depot at Shelbourne Road in Ballsbridge. This is now the premises for Ballsbridge Motors which is still a Volkswagen dealer.
The first Volkswagen ever assembled outside Germany was built here. Jack Gilder had been fascinated by both the design and engineering of the Beetle when he came across one in Belgium during the war.
The Type 1 was introduced to Japan in , and was imported by Yanase dealerships in Japan. Its exterior dimensions and engine displacement were in compliance with Japanese Government regulations , which helped sales.
Several Japanese vehicles were introduced after the Beetle was sold in Japan, using an air-cooled engine and rear mounting of the engine, such as the Subaru , or an engine installed in the front, like the Honda N , the Suzuki Fronte , and the Mitsubishi Minica.
The last German made cars were assembled at Emden in , after which the Puebla, Mexico plant became the principal source of Beetle production.
Other countries produced Beetles from CKD complete knockdown kits: Brazilian assembly of the Beetle, where it is called " Fusca ", started in , with parts imported from Germany.
In production resumed and continued to The Brazilian version retained the —64 body style Europe and U. This body style was also produced in Mexico until The and s had the era taillights and headlights, fuel tank, but fitted with the up raised bumpers.
Brazilian CKD kits were shipped to Nigeria between and where Beetles were locally assembled. The Brazilian-produced versions have been sold in neighboring South American nations bordering Brazil, including Argentina, Uruguay, and Peru.
The Brazilian Type 1s have four different engines: In Brazil, the Type 1 never received electronic fuel injection, instead retaining carburetors one or two one-barrels throughout its entire life, although the carburetion differs from engines of different years and specification.
The production of the air-cooled engine finally ended in , after more than 60 years. It was last used in the Brazilian version of the VW Bus, called the "Kombi", and was replaced by a 1.
Volkswagen do Brasil engaged in some string pulling in the early sixties when a law requiring taxis to have four doors and five seats was being considered.
Tailor your Beetle—and consider yourself expressed. So feel free to pick out a nickname in our own language. Or one that just speaks to you. Your smiles have never come quicker.
The 6-speed automatic transmission offers acceleration and smooth gear changes. Now with a larger 2. Always obey all speed and traffic laws.
To start App-Connect Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted. Not all features available on all operating systems.
Standard text and data usage rates apply. App-Connect features require compatible device, operating system, and mobile apps. See mobile device and app providers for terms and privacy.
Open the Apple Maps app and use it to help navigate to your favorite spots, find new places, and get turn-by-turn directions from the comfort of your dash.
Learn more about App-Connect. Message and call with a touch of a button. Send texts, make calls, and answer iMessages via Siri.
A new venue for your iPhone. Access and control music, podcasts, and more right from your dash through Apple iTunes.
Your Volkswagen, now a concert hall on wheels. Bluetooth with audio streaming lets you talk to your friends or play your music via your compatible device so you can focus on the drive.
Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted. The features and technologies discussed are optional, may require an additional subscription with separate terms and conditions, and should be used only when it is safe and appropriate.
Get your fingers warmed up. Available SiriusXM All Access offers music, plus major sporting events and some of the biggest names in entertainment, news, and comedy are available with a 3-month trial subscription.
All fees and programming are subject to change. Enjoy a host of available features like enhanced navigation with traffic, sports scores, weather information, and more.
Available keyless access lets you lock, unlock, start, and drive your car without ever having to take your keys out of your pocket.
Where did I last park? If you leave the sunroof open and there is rain in the near forecast, the VW Car-Net mobile app Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted.
Message and data rates apply. Learn more about VW Car-Net. Or maybe the trunk or one of the doors is ajar. The VW Car-Net mobile app Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted.
The sensors on the Blind Spot Monitor are able to help sense what you might miss. When driving, if you attempt to change lanes, the Blind Spot Monitor can help alert you to cars that may be in your blind spot.
The available Park Distance Control has sensors that can help alert you as you back out of or drive into a parking spot. Audible signals and the optical parking system on the display indicate how much space you have behind and, on some vehicles, in front of the vehicle when parking.
The frequency of the signal tone increases as the vehicle draws closer to the obstacle. If you get too close, a continuous tone sounds as a warning.
The display provides additional information to the driver by showing the position of obstacles. It has sensors that can alert you to vehicles crossing in your path when in reverse and can even help brake the vehicle if needed.
Not all collisions cause airbags to deploy or safety belt pretensioners to activate. Benefit from the view of a wide lens when you want it.
Front and rear crumple zones help absorb crash energy, while a rigid safety cage helps deflect it away from the driver and passengers. In the event of a collision that deploys the airbags, Airbags are supplemental restraints only and will not deploy under all crash circumstances.
Always use safety belts and seat children only in the rear, using restraint systems appropriate for their size and age. Not every collision brings a car to stop.
It can also help slow the vehicle down after a collision, helping reduce the chance of any additional impacts.
The features discussed are designed to help mitigate the effects of certain collisions, and are not a substitute for attentive driving. Monitoring and maintaining proper air pressure in your tires helps with efficiency and safety.
The TPMS helps alert you to a loss of tire pressure so you know when to add air. From Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution EBD , which helps maintain appropriate stopping power during a hard-braking situation, to Electronic Stability Control ESC , which can adjust engine throttle and apply corrective forces to the wheels that need them most, your vehicle is equipped with a total of seven stability-enhancing systems.
Enter your zip code for regional offers. A classic that keeps up with the times. The Beetle says so long with two grand finales.
Help yourself to a little extra help. Beetle SE with Premium Package shown.