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Volkswagen Beetle car - Skillful Product Life Cycle Management

Updated on July 1, 2017

Do you know that certain products are born and die quickly. Other products seem to defy the product life cycle enduring for decades or even generations. Skillful product life cycle management can keep them fresh, relevant and appealing to customers. Here is an example of a long time market winner with plenty of staying power.

1932 Volkswagen Beetle Type12
1932 Volkswagen Beetle Type12
1933 Volkswagen Beetle Type 32NSU
1933 Volkswagen Beetle Type 32NSU

The original Volkswagen Beetle

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In year 1949 the original Volkswagen Beetle came to America. With its simple bug-like design and economical operation, the Beetle was the antithesis of Detroit’s chrome-laden gas guzzlers. Young baby boomers in thousands were buying their first cars during 1960s. With this, the demand for the Beetle exploded and the anything-but-flashy Beetle blossomed. It became the most popular car in American history with sales peaking at 423,000 cars in 1968. However by the late 1970s the boomers had moved on, bug mania faded and Volkswagen dropped Beetle production for the US.

1936 Volkswagen Beetle Type60
1936 Volkswagen Beetle Type60
1937 Volkswagen Beetle Type60
1937 Volkswagen Beetle Type60
1938 VolksWagen Beetle Type60
1938 VolksWagen Beetle Type60
1942 Volkswagen Beetle Type87
1942 Volkswagen Beetle Type87
1948Volkswagen Beetle
1948Volkswagen Beetle
1950 Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe Sedan
1950 Volkswagen Beetle Deluxe Sedan
1951 Volkswagen Deluxe
1951 Volkswagen Deluxe
1951 Volkswagen Deluxe
1951 Volkswagen Deluxe
1956 Volkswagen Sedan
1956 Volkswagen Sedan
1960 Volkswagen Beetle Sunroof
1960 Volkswagen Beetle Sunroof
1967 Volkswagen Beetle
1967 Volkswagen Beetle
1972 Volkswagen 1600 Super Bug S
1972 Volkswagen 1600 Super Bug S

New Volkswagen Beetle

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Several decades later Volkswagen decided to rekindle the life cycle of this little car and in 1998 they introduced a new Beetle. The reborn Beetle resembles the original, tapping the strong emotions and memories of times gone by. However the new Beetle is packed with all the modern features that car buyers demand such as four air bags, power outlets for cell phones, high-tech multi speaker stereo and other options like power windows, cruise control. A power sunroof makes it very different car than the old Bug.

Initial advertising for the new Beetle played strongly on the car’s former life while at the same time refreshing the old Beetle heritage. One ad said “Here is your chance to buy it back”. Another one said “0 to 60? Yes.”

2002 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE 2.0 IKON
2002 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE 2.0 IKON
2002 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE 2.0 IKON
2002 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE 2.0 IKON
2002 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE 2.0 IKON
2002 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE 2.0 IKON
2005 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE 1.6 IKON
2005 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE 1.6 IKON

Volkswagen’s investment of $560 million to bring back the Beetle, paid big dividends as demand quickly outstripped supply. Even before the first car reached the Volkswagen showrooms, dealers across the country had long waiting lists of people who had paid for the car without ever seeing it. Even kids who were too young to remember the original Bug, loved the new one.

Sales of new Beetle for the first nine months exceeded the projected sales for the first year by more than 25 percent.

A trend analyst said “the new Beetle is different, yet deeply familiar – a car for the times”.

2009 Volkswagen New Beetle
2009 Volkswagen New Beetle
2009 Volkswagen New Beetle
2009 Volkswagen New Beetle
2009 Volkswagen New Beetle
2009 Volkswagen New Beetle
2009 Volkswagen New Beetle
2009 Volkswagen New Beetle
Interior of a 1949 VW Beetle
Interior of a 1949 VW Beetle
Dashboard of a Mexican 1969 VW Beetle
Dashboard of a Mexican 1969 VW Beetle
Original Volkswagen Bug Beetle Speedo 140 km/h
Original Volkswagen Bug Beetle Speedo 140 km/h
Interior of a 2002 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 IKON
Interior of a 2002 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0 IKON

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