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GALLERY: Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle —officially the Volkswagen Type 1 , informally in German the Käfer (literally "beetle"), in parts of the English-speaking world the Bug , [11] and known by many other nicknames in other languages—is a two-door, rear-engine economy car , intended for five passengers, [12] [13] that was manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003. [14]

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The original 25 hp Beetle was designed for a top speed around 100 km/h (62 mph), which would be a viable speed on the Reichsautobahn system. As Autobahn speeds increased in the postwar years, its output was boosted to 36, then 40 hp, the configuration that lasted through 1966 and became the "classic" Volkswagen motor. The Beetle ultimately gave rise to variants, including the Karmann Ghia, Type 2, and external coach builders. The Beetle marked a significant trend, led by Volkswagen, Fiat, and Renault, whereby the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout increased from 2. 6 percent of continental Western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26. 6 percent in 1956. Over time a trend towards front-wheel drive would come to dominate the European small-car market. In 1974, Volkswagen's own front-wheel drive Golf model succeeded the Beetle. In 1994, Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One, a "retro"-themed concept car with a resemblance to the original Beetle, and in 1998 introduced the "New Beetle", built on the contemporary Golf platform with styling recalling the original Type 1. It remained in production through 2010, and was succeeded in 2011 by the more aggressively styled Beetle (A5), which was also more reminiscent of the original Beetle.

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