Designed to be a sportier alternative to the Type 1 Beetle, the 1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, or Type 14, featured a rear-mounted, air-cooled, four-cylinder boxer engine that provided a dependable running gear. It had a lower curb weight than the Beetle, which resulted in a speedier drive.
The body design was a 2+2 coupe with a curvy rear fender. Volkswagen also produced a convertible model. The design became so popular that it became one of America's top imported vehicles.
Luigi Segre of Carrozzeria Ghia, an Italian car design firm, styled the sleek features of the Karmann Ghia, and the German coachbuilder Karmann hand-built the bodywork. They placed these features over the dependable chassis and mechanicals of the Type 1 Beetle. Whereas the Beetle's body was machine-welded, the Karmann Ghia's was butt-welded, hand-shaped, and smoothed with English pewter. This labor and time-intensive process resulted in the Karmann Ghia having a higher list price than other Volkswagen products, including the Beetle. The distinctive design led American industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague to call the Karmann Ghia one of the world's most beautifully designed products.
Volkswagen discontinued the Karmann Ghia line in 1974 and replaced it with the Volkswagen Rabbit in the U.S. market.