The Beetle's history reaches as far back as the 1930s. However, the first one built under the Volkswagen name came shortly after the end of World War II. British army officer Major Ivan Hirst, who controlled what would be the first Volkswagen factory, obtained an order of 20,000 sedans for the British military. The now-named Volkswagen factory shipped eight Beetles to Gottfried Schultz while sending one to Raffay & Co. Both continue to be large Volkswagen dealerships today.
The military approved the establishment of 10 major distributors and 28 dealerships later that year. Volkswagen would go on to sell millions of its Beetles world wide. In the U.S., Volkswagen sold the turtle-shaped car until 1978. The car would not return to the world's largest automotive market until 1998 as the New Beetle.
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[Source: DueMotori and Wikipedia]