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

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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.

Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG071 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


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


The case narrates the story of the German automobile company Volkswagen and its Beetle brand of passenger cars. Beetle's emergence as a successful, cult brand between the late 1950s and early 1970s is examined in detail. The case discusses the brand positioning, advertising and promotional strategies adopted for the Beetle brand in the US during the above time period. It also studies the problems faced by Beetle after the mid-1970s, which forced Volkswagen to stop the production of Beetles worldwide in 1979. The reasons for the relaunch of the Beetle in the late 1990s have also been discussed. The case critically examines the success of New Beetle in the early 21st century and discusses its future prospects.


• Understand the concept of cult brands and the role played by emotional bonding (with the product) in the success of such products.


  Page No.
The End of an Era 1
The Volkswagen Story: The Beetle is Born 2
Beetle: Rise to Glory 3
Beetle: Becoming a Phenomenon 5
Beetle Loses Ground 6
Time for Beetle Again! 6
Reinventing the Beetle 7
The New Beetle Makes its Mark 9
Exhibits 12


German, automobile company, Volkswagen, Beetle, passenger cars, successful, cult brand, brand positioning, advertising, promotional strategies, US, problems, mid-1970s, 1979, 1990, New Beetle, 21st century, future prospects

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