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Report: Beetle Craze Hits Thailand

July 25, 2000

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Since its launch in the 1930s, the low-riding, lowbrow Volkswagen Beetle _ a kind of turtle on four wheels _ was the vehicle of the masses, the cheap ``people’s car.″

But an anonymous bidder who was willing to pay $135,000 for the Beetle in Thailand suggests that more affluent consumers can fall in love just as hard for VW’s new slick incarnation as the working class did for the lowly early models.

A car enthusiast has offered to pay nearly four times the going price to get one of only 100 new Beetles being sold in Thailand this year, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The small quota is caused by a huge worldwide demand for what was originally designed in the late 1930s as a cheap ``people’s car.″

The bidder was one of 600 people who took part in an online auction by Yontrakit Volkswagen Marketing, the official dealer in Thailand, The Nation said. Not that the bidder will pay his full price.

Auction rules stipulated the top 100 bidders would pay the same price as the lowest winning bid _ $38,750 _ but only the highest bidder could choose their desired color. The auction ended Saturday.

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