AUTOS: The Beetle Stalls

If a single product could take credit for West Germany's "economic miracle," it would be the Volkswagen Beetle. Since the start of production 36 years ago, 18 million copies of the inelegant rear-engine car designed by Ferdinand Porsche have been sold round the world; yet now the world's joyride with the Beetle appears to have stalled, so thoroughly that production has ground to a temporary halt.

Worldwide sales of Volkswagenwerk AG have slumped 21.6% so far this year, and officials openly predict that the company in 1974 will suffer the first full-year loss in its history. (Profits in 1973 were...

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