View original topic: US Tourist Delivery Program
John Moxon Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:31 am

I thought some of you might find this of interest.

retrowagen wrote: VW had a tourist delivery program from the 50's on. One could order a specific vehicle from one's local dealer, and a German dealer (or later, the VW tourist delivery depot in Wolfsburg, or at the Frankfurt a.M. airport) would prepare the car for pickup, with customs license plates, temporary paperwork and tourist car insurance. The tourist would then have the opportunity to drive the car around Europe, and return the vehicle to a predetermined shipping-off location on an agreed-upon date. Then fly home, then after a month or two, pick up the vehicle either at the port or the local dealer.

Some of you Ghia owners will have ordered your car’s birth certificate from the Wolfsburg Museum and some of you will also have noticed against the information: “Country of destination…USA, tourists.”

My ’58 Ghia Coupe was one of these cars. I know this because the birth certificate tells me, as did the lady owner who collected it from Frankfurt Airport in the April of that year, at the outset of her month vacation.

I was relating the Ghia’s story to a VW friend the other day and he came up with an interesting twist on this “Tourist Delivery Program.” I always thought this program was just a VW marketing ploy to dress up “the buying experience;” you can still do it today, collecting your new VW from The Wolfsburg Autostadt. However my friend told me it was VWs rather clever way around the U.S. Import Quotas that limited the number of new vehicles that could enter the U.S. in any year during the ’50s and ‘60s.

Apparently VW dealers in the U.S. pushed this scheme and it was certainly a popular package. As Dave (retrowagen) has said, you ordered your VW at your local dealer, the major parts of your vacation were organized for you, you collected you new car on arrival, drove it on your vacation and returned it for shipping to your home.

So you were happy, you got your new car at your home, having already driven it on a memorable vacation. Not only that but VW were happy too because they’d sold you a new car and when it entered the U.S. it didn’t enter as a new car to count against their limited annual quota but as a used car. Bingo! VW get to ship a few thousand more cars into the U.S. every year.

I hope the guy who thought that one up got a good bonus. :wink:

Anyone know anymore about this was the cost of the flights etc added to the cost of the car and payable to VW as a complete package? I've never seen any literature on the scheme.

EverettB Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:04 pm

A section of Tourist Delivery brochures on this site:

John Moxon Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:28 am

:oops: Oops I thought I was familiar with all the brochures in the Archive...thanks Ev.

The first full brochure in the Archive is for 1964, anyone have anything earlier or even when the scheme started?

Mase Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:57 am

According to my T34's birth certificate... my '64 was a "tourist" delivery. I found this very interesting since the T34 was not officially sold in the US. I bought it from the second owner's estate (through a wholesaler)... who purchased the vehicle in 1965. The title from the second owner shows the "Date first sold" 10 days after production was complete on 8/27/63. It was one of the first 1964 1500s T34's sold... even though the Colorado Title shows it as a '63.

I have a feeling this car has always been around the Boulder area as the second owner purchased it in Boulder from a local used car dealership... but I've been unable the find information on the original owners. I'd love to locate them (or descendants) at some point... as I'm sure they'd have pictures of their travels through Europe in this car. Unfortunately CO does not have title records that far back.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group