Probably the most famous modern car of the post-war era, save perhaps for Britain's Mini, the original Beetle was created by Ferdinand Porsche under orders from Adolf Hitler to create a 'People's Car'. It debuted in 1938, but did not go into mass-production until 1945. Over decades, it changed little.
With 22.6 million sold, it is the longest-running, and most-manufactured of a single car platform in the world.
It was ostensibly replaced in 1974, with the Golf; but in 1994 Volkswagen showed the Concept One, which became the 'New Beetle'.
|Original Concept One sketch|
The New Beetle was built on the Golf platform and shared many parts, and in 2011 it was replaced by a new shape, with the same basic Golf underpinnings.
The last holdout of the 'original' Beetle was Mexico, where VW continued to build the two-door car at its manufacturing facility in Puebla, as a rather impractical taxi. It ended production there in July 2003.
Actually sales have slowed dramatically as the world turns to SUVs; and although the 1994 Concept One was a cute, nostalgic look back at another era, and a huge sales success, the car's major market always remained the USA - and the truth is, Americans are 'over it'.