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It's Been 70 Years Since VW Started Building the Beetle

4 Janvier 2016 - Autoblog

It's Been 70 Years Since VW Started Building the Beetle

This week marks a milestone in the history of the automobile. Seventy years ago – just after the Christmas following World War II – the very first Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line in Wolfsburg. And with it began the development of the post-war German automotive industry.

Following the first 630 examples of the KdF-Wagen built during the war, the first VW Type 1 (which would come to be known as the Beetle) was built at the state-of-the-art Wolfsburg plant. The facility was constructed in 1938 specifically for the purpose, but was converted to produce military equipment during the war, and was subsequently bombed out by the Allies. The factory was rebuilt under the command of Major Ivan Hirst of the British Army, who put the Bug into production – as best the available resources could muster – initially to fulfill orders placed by the occupying forces.

Production picked up after the Deutsche mark was reformed in 1948, and the original Beetle remained in production until 2003 when it was finally discontinued in Mexico. By that point the New Beetle had already been introduced, which was, in turn, replaced by the newer Beetle we have today. As for the Wolfsburg site, it remains Volkswagen's largest plant, the seat of its headquarters, and the home of Autostadt – one of the largest tourist attractions in Europe.

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