Four million years ago, Optimus Prime led a crew of Autobots including Bumblebee aboard the Ark to clear a path through an asteroid belt for Cybertron to pass through. Once their objective was completed, they were attacked by Decepticons and both their ships crashed in a volcanic mountain on a primitive planet known as Earth. In 1984, the volcano (Mount Saint Hilary) erupted, awakening their ship, which rebuilt them. Bumblebee was reconfigured to transform into a yellow Volkswagen Beetle.
Also known in Japan as ‘Bumble’.
Moulded sometimes as a generic saloon or sports car, when moulded as a VW can be coloured white, gold or black.
Concept art by Hasbro/Takara© for a proposed ‘New Beetle Bumblebee’ was made during 2005. The design was produced for the 1/24 Transformers Alternators/Binaltech officially licensed real world car model range but permission was not given by Volkswagen AG. However, Bumblebee in this guise appeared in the ‘Transformers: Timelines’ comic book ‘Descent Into Evil’ (08/2005), drawn by Makoto Ono.
Tonka© and Bandai© also produced a similar line of transforming figures called ‘GoBots’ including ‘BugBite’. Also note that the Transformer ‘Cliffjumper’ figure (originally based on a Porsche 924) was remoulded as a Beetle similar to Bumblebee.
In 2014 Transformers celebrated their 30th Anniversary.
Paramount Pictures are currently in post-production of the sixth Transformers movie entitled ‘Bumblebee’ finally depicting the Autobot as a Volkswagen Beetle, in this case, based around a 1967 model year. Starring Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena.