Volkswagen Beetle Video Case

Case Abstract:

This video case profiles the history of the original Beetle in the U.S. market from its introduction in 1949 to its demise in 1979 and then follows the initial two years of the New Beetle’s rebirth, 1998 and 1999. The Beetle became a symbol of the 1960s rebelliousness, but it lost the love of a generation when it stressed engineering over style and low-cost operation, two factors that baby boomers considered crucial in the 1970s.

By 1974, the Beetle had lost ground to its aggressive Japanese rivals for the value segment of the U.S. automobile market. In 1998, when the Beetle was reintroduced in the United States, it surpassed all sales estimates. The second year it doubled its sales. Historically, the Beetle is the world’s best-selling car, having sold in more countries than any other automobile, with 21 million cars sold in its lifetime.

Answer the following questions:

1. What management dilemmas should have led Volkswagen to research its U.S. market?

2. Is the reveal of the design of a new (or reborn) car the first research that Volkswagen was likely to have done?

3. What type of research would be done at such an event?

4. Are the attendees at such a show likely to be members of the relevant sample population?

5. What management dilemma/opportunity led to the reintroduction of the Beetle in the 1990s?

6. What qualitative research could have revealed the major themes used in the advertising that re-introduced the Beetle? Format Guidelines

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