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Dutch businessman Ben Pon arrived in New York in 1949 with two Volkswagen Type 1 vehicles — later to be known as the Beetle — in one of the first attempts to sell affordable small vehicles to Americans, according to the German automaker.

More than 17 million vehicles later, Volkswagen on Thursday marked 70 years in America with a drive down memory lane during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

"Over the past 70 years, Volkswagen has grown from two Beetles to a significant part of American history," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America. "As we look ahead to driving our company toward bigger goals like our next-generation electric vehicles, we will always remember where we started out."

VW has a production plant in Chattanooga where it broke ground last week on an $800 million expansion to assembly electric vehicles.

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