Today in 1972 the “Beetle” Breaks Car Production History Despite Connection to Hitler

February 17, 1972 the Volkswagen Beetle broke a four-decade long world car production record– surpassing Ford Motor Company’s iconic Model T’s production record.

The Beetle is inextricably linked to 1930s Germany. Following Adolf Hitler’s election to Chancellor in 1933, a new initiative was introduced to build new roads and affordable cars. Designed by Austrian-born engineer Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951), Hitler envisioned an inexpensive, mass-produced, “people’s car.”

After World War II when the Beetle first arrived in America, the initial response wasn’t good. But due to (Mad Man) Advertising gurus, a marketing campaign promoted the Beetle as the next best thing on the market. And it became an icon of the 1960-70’s era.

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The Beetle only cost $1,565 and sideview mirrors and a radio — were optional.


The Model T was manufactured from 1908 to 1927. Detroit, Michigan “put the world on wheels,” and its production of the Model T revolutionized the automotive industry– and transportation and way of life nationwide. Over 19 years Ford Motor Company built over 15 million Model T cars.

The last original Beetle was produced in 2003– 60 years and 21 million cars after its first assemble in 1938.

Bethany Blankley

Bethany Blankley is a political analyst for Fox News Radio and has appeared on television and radio programs nationwide. She writes about political, cultural, and religious issues in America from the perspective of an evangelical and former communications staffer. She was a communications strategist for four U.S. Senators, one U.S. Congressman, a former New York governor, and several non-profits. She earned her MA in Theology from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland and her BA in Political Science from the University of Maryland. Follow her @bethanyblankley &

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