Beetle: The Birth, Growth, Death and Revival of a Cult Brand

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG071
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1941-2003
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Volkswagen
Industry : Automobiles
Countries : German

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The Volkswagen Story: The Beetle is Born

The history of Volkswagen and Beetle dates back to the early 1930s. Adolf Hitler (Hitler), the Nazi dictator, commissioned an automobile engineer, Ferdinard Porsche (Porsche), to design a Volkswagen, (German for 'a people's car') in 1933. Hitler wanted a durable, affordable car that could seat five people (parents and three children). His decision was reportedly prompted by the fact that during that period German car manufacturers largely offered luxury cars which were too expensive for the common man...

Beetle: Rise to Glory

Beetle was not an instant success in the US since the market there was dominated by technically superior luxury cars. With its unusual, round, bug-like shape, Beetle was not much of a match for the elegant looking cars such as Cadillac, Corsley, Packard, Hudson and La Salle available in the US during that period...

Beetle: Becoming a Phenomenon

The 1960s and 1970s were a period of glory for the Beetle. The car became the choice of the rebellious, freedom loving, post-war (World War II) generation in the US. In Europe, the car became a symbol of freedom from the tough social obligations and restrictions of that period.

According to Beetle customers, owning Beetle also reflected their love for life. A businesswoman interviewed by 'Popular Mechanics' magazine during the 1960s regarded her Beetle as "the first major love affair of my life."...

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