Wed, 13 Nov 2019

Beetle Goes Extinct as VW Halts Production

Voice of America
10 Jul 2019, 09:35 GMT+10

Volkswagen will end production of its Beetle car model Wednesday after the last car rolls off the assembly line at its plant in Puebla, Mexico.

The Beetle dates back to the 1930s, when German engineer Ferdinand Porsche designed a "people's car" - "Volkswagen" in German - at the behest of Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler.

The car was relaunched after World War II to distance it from the Nazi regime, and eventually became heavily associated with hippie culture in the 1960s.

Its fame was solidified in 1968 with the Walt Disney movie "The Love Bug," which featured an anthropomorphic Beetle named Herbie that made a splash on the California racing circuit.

Volkswagen revamped the iconic auto in 1998 and 2012, but failed to win the mass appeal of the original.

"Cult is not necessarily synonymous with sales. ... The Beetle has not been able to attain the global success of the new 'Volkswagen,' the Golf," the company said in a statement.

The company has not manufactured Beetles in Germany since the 1970s.

The factory in Mexico will shift to producing compact SUVs.

"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle," Volkswagen of America president and CEO Scott Keogh said in a statement. "From its first import in 1949 to today's retro-inspired design, it has showcased our company's ability to fit round pegs into square holes of the automotive industry."

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