In August 1955, the first production coupe—now renamed in honour of the three companies involved—rolled out of the factory gates. The public loved its sleek styling and sales for the first year reached five figures.
Buyers took to the Karmann Ghia more for its timeless design rather than its handling, accepting the positive factors that the car was attractively priced, bringing the dream of owning a sports car within the grasp of the ordinary person in the street.
The KarmanGhia's driving position was lower than a sedan, meaning that the Karmann Ghia was often described by the motoring press as more of a poor man's Porsche.
Virtually in a class of its own, the Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia was unbeatable in its price class for looks, quality, and comfort.
Even though it didn't have anything like enough power to be classified as a real sports car, more of a touring car, while eminently affordable with readily available spare parts.
The three elements that went into the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia were almost guaranteed to make it a commercial success: the mechanical talent of Volkswagen, the coachbuilding skill of Karmann, and the futuristic design skills of Italian styling house Ghia.
The result was a classic of automotive art, often appearing in lists of the best-looking cars of all time, the only possible fault that the Karmann Ghia has was that, despite having several upgrades from its original 1200 cc engine, it lacked the performance levels to go with the looks.
Thanks to VW’s well-established reputation for sound engineering backed up by a famously punchy advertising campaign; the Karmann Ghia soon became a steady seller and a leading source of export income for West Germany.
For the close to twenty years that the Karmann Ghia was in production, VW sold around half a million of this unlikely looking coupe that flattered to deceive.