February 17, 1972 – VW Beetle outsells Ford Model T

Introduced in 1908, the Ford Model T would become the best selling car of all time by the time production ended in 1927. It’d be another 45 years before another car matched its production numbers. On this day in 1972 Volkswagen beat that record when the 15,007,034th Type 1 Beetle left the factory. Developed in Nazi Germany by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s, the Beetle would go into full scale production following WWII. 

Dismal US sales led to a massive marketing campaign launched in 1959 by advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach. The series of ads took playful jabs at VW while to promoting the advantages owning a small car. The Bug, as it is informally known, underwent very little redesign throughout its production life. After more than 60 years and more than 21 million Beetles built, the final Type 1 rolled off the assembly line in Peubla, Mexico in 2003.

VW bug and model T ad


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