The Beetle Story *



Case Code : SCMKTG071
Publication date :2005
Subject : Subject :Marketing
Industry :Automobiles
Length : 10 Pages


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Abstract: ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India ICMR India RSS Feed

The case narrates the story of the German automobile company Volkswagen and its Beetle brand of passenger cars. Beetle's emergence as a successful, cult brand between the late 1950s and early 1970s is examined in detail. The case discusses the brand positioning, advertising and promotional strategies adopted for the Beetle brand in the US during the above time period. It also studies the problems faced by Beetle after the mid-1970s, which forced Volkswagen to stop the production of Beetles worldwide in 1979. The reasons for the relaunch of the Beetle in the late 1990s have also been discussed. The case critically examines the success of New Beetle in the early 21st century and discusses its future prospects.


Understand the concept of cult brands and the role played by emotional bonding (with the product) in the success of such products.

Questions for Discussion:

1. Examine the evolution of the Beetle brand and its growth over the years. How did the strategies adopted by Volkswagen contribute to the brand's success over the years?
2. Critically analyze the reasons for the emergence of Beetle as a cult brand, especially in the US. How far do you think the emotional bonding of customers with the product contributed to its success? Do you think such an emotional relationship with a product extends the product's life span? Justify your answer.
3. Examine the reasons for the discontinuation of the Beetle brand by Volkswagen and critically comment on the rationale for its relaunch. Do you think the nostalgia factor is strong enough to change the fortune of a company in any industry? Support your stand.
4. Critically analyze the strategies adopted by Volkswagen to promote the New Beetle. Do you think the New Beetle will be able to achieve the cult status of its predecessor? Why/Why not?

Key words:
Customer relationship management, CRM, Tesco, retailing company, United Kingdom, UK, mid-1990, customer service efforts, loyalty card scheme, 1995, data generated, scheme, marketing strategies, possible service, changing market dynamics, game plan, loyalty card, schemes

*Note : This case is a simplified version of a longer case study, and is intended for learners for whom English is a foreign language. The longer version of this case study (MKTG071) is available at: