After 1949, production at Volkswagen steadily increased. Nordhoff's experience and knowledge proved invaluable for the company. Late in 1949, an idea for a utility/transport vehicle was developed, and by 1950, the VW transporter was born.
Volkswagens were being exported to neighboring European countries such as Denmark, Sweeden, Luxemburg, Belgium, and Switzerland. As early as 1950, Volkswagen began producing Beetles in South Africa (They were now known as Beetles) as well. Volkswagen comissioned an old German coach building company, Karmann, to build their Beetle convertibles. Every single convertible Volkswagen Beetle was completed by Karmann: hence the special badges on VW convertibles. In 1952, a Volkswagen dealership was opened in England: which was the first there. A few Volkswagens were imported into the United States in 1949 by Ben Pon, but they didn't immediatley gain popularity. Very few were sold in their first year in the US.
The Hoffmann company of New York, which imported Beetles in the early 1950s, eventually abandonded Volkswagen, and imported Porsches instead. Volkswagen did not sell many cars in the United States until later in the mid-1950s.
In 1951, Volkswagen began to export a deluxe version of the beetle. There was already a "standard" Beetle, which was only available in a dull gray color. These standard Beetles were spartan: they lacked synchromesh transmissions, exterior and interior chrome, and other special extra options that one might expect to have as standard in cars today. There were also regular export cars, that were available in several colors. The export cars also had chrome and more options as standard, such as a radio. The American export cars had even more chrome than regular export cars, and were generally the most elaborate with options and features. The American deluxe Beetles got hydraulic brakes in 1952, and lost their semaphores (flag-like turn signals) in 1955.
Volkswagen transporters were not as popular as Beetles, and in the first 5 years of production, there were 4 times fewer Buses built as Beetles. The Buses (and all other transporters) produced before 1955 had characteristically large engine access doors. Today, they are largely known as "barndoor" buses. Some people think that barndoor is supposed to be a reference to the side doors, but it is a misconception. These early barndoor transporters are very rare today.
Still in the 1950s, Volkswagen had already acted on its global goals by building factories in several countries. A factory began building Beetles in England, the plant in South Africa was building them, and a plant in Brazil provided a South American connection. Later, in 1960, a plant in Australia opened up, but never ended up being as successful as the other factories.