The late 1960s were really the golden days for the VW Beetle sales in the U.S., which topped out at almost 400,000 units in 1968 and hovered around that mark for several years. The period opened with timely and intelligent changes visual and ended with some quite daring mechanical revisions, as the company battled to keep a 25-year-old design in the forefront of the import market.
Numerous changes marked the 1965 Volkswagen Beetle, most obvious being larger windows all around. The windshield was now slightly curved to reduce glare and the sun visors could be swiveled to the side. The windshield was 11 percent bigger, and the pillars slimmer. The rear window was 20 percent bigger, the rear side widows increased 18 percent and the front side windows six percent. Wipers were longer and the motor more powerful.
Worldwide VW production totaled 1,174,687 units of all models while 296,431 Beetles were sold in the U.S. and 7,848 Cabriolets. Counting trucks, VW sold 383,978 unit sales in the U.S., which was 67.4 percent of imported cars. However the dealer network dropped from 968 to 908.
The 34 bhp, 1192cc engine was improved to 40 bhp, but performance was still leisurely. Prices were cut slightly with the 1965 Beetle Deluxe Sedan costing $1563, the Sunroof Sedan $1653 and the Cabriolet $2053. Improvements included heater controls changed to twin levers instead of rotary knobs. Two jacking points were provided on each side. Brake and clutch mechanisms were improved.