TROY, Mich. — Arthur Stanton, who in 1949 bought the first Volkswagen sold in the United States and then became one of the most successful dealers in Volkswagen history, is dead.
A spokesman for Volkswagen of America said Thursday that Stanton died while attending a dealer meeting in Hawaii.
"Mr. Stanton saw the Beetle as a car of the future in 1949 and helped establish what is now a legend in the United States,' said Volkswagen of America President Noel Phillips.
Stanton, who lived in New York City, died Tuesday at age 69.
In 1949 he bought the first Beetle sold in America from a Dutch importer trying to interest U.S. dealers in the car, Volkswagen said in a statement from its headquarters here.
About that same time, Stanton was awarded a franchise to sell Beetles in North Africa. Successful there, he recommended that Volkswagen set up an organized distribution system, and the auto maker did, giving Stanton the right to distribute the cars east of the Mississippi.
Stanton founded his distributorship, World-Wide Volkswagen Corp., in February, 1954.