4 Things Students in Auto Mechanic College Didn't Know About the VW Beetle
May 3, 2016
Could the Volkswagen Beetle be no more? With the current popularity of SUVs showing no sign of slowing down, rumours are circulating that the German automaker is planning to discontinue production of the current model in 2018.
The news is likely to disappoint many auto mechanic college students, with the Beetle commanding a loyal cult following thanks to its unique design and impressive performance. And with over 80 years on the clock, the little car has also had plenty of memorable moments throughout its history, including setting world records for sales, revolutionising the advertising industry, and even starring in blockbuster movies.
Read on to find out some surprising facts about one of the auto industry’s most beloved household names.
1. Was the Beetle the Best-Selling Car Ever? An Auto Mechanic College Debate
When its 15,007,034th model rolled off the production line in 1972, the original Beetle officially broke the Ford Model T’s worldwide sales record, and would go on to sell over 21 million units.
While that figure was surpassed by the Toyota Corolla’s 40 million sales in 2013, the Corolla name was applied to 11 generations of radically different models. The original Beetle, meanwhile, changed so little over its 70-year lifespan that it was still possible to mount a 2003 chassis to a 1936 body, and some argue that it should still hold the record.
2. The Beetle Brought Auto Mechanics Into Advertising
Many auto mechanic college students will be familiar with the famous “Think Small” and “Lemon” Beetle ads from the 1960s. Up until that point, auto advertising tended to be focused on luxury, and was rooted more in fantasy than reality.
VW’s campaigns changed all that, using a clever approach to highlight the Beetle’s superior mechanical performance and reliability. Advertisers never looked back, and the ads remain among the most influential of all time.
3. Don’t Be Surprised if the Beetle Makes a Comeback Once You Become an Auto Mechanic
While sales of the original Beetle slowed in the late seventies, the car’s loyal following led to the introduction of the “New Beetle” in 1998, which became incredibly popular. Production of the new generation model lasted until 2010, but a redesigned Beetle, which is closer in shape to the original, debuted in 2012. So while it might seem strange to think that you won’t be seeing any more Beetles rolling into to your shop once you become an auto mechanic, don’t be surprised if it returns in the future!
4. Auto Mechanic College Movie Trivia: The Beetle Had to Audition for Herbie
Many students will have first encountered the Beetle as children when it starred in Disney’s famous Herbie movie series. What they might not know is that the original script didn’t specify what type of car Herbie would be. Disney actually set up auditions and looked at several models, including a TVR and an MG. Luckily, the producers recognised that the Beetle’s distinctive personality made it perfect for the lead role.
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