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It's the end of an era – an era that has stretched out for a very long time, albeit with slightly different silhouettes.
The latest Volkswagen Beetle, a third generation Denim Blue coupe, will be produced in Puebla, Mexico, on Wednesday.
"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without Beetle," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. "While the time has come, the role it has played in the development of our brand has always been appreciated."
A symbol of hippie time in America, the car was marketed in the United States as an adorably uncool. Volkswagen promoted Beetle with rude advertising campaigns using slogans such as "Live under your funds" and "It's ugly, but it gets you there." In 1969, one of the vehicles cost $ 1,799.
Perhaps that image – and its good value – helped the car overcome a non-proud story: Volkswagen was founded as a project by Adolf Hitler, and the earliest cars were used for both civil and military purposes. Volkswagen was restored by British authorities after World War II, and the car was rebranded as a beetle to renounce its Nazi heritage.
It worked. A couple of decades later, the car was the anthropomorphized star in a series of films that began with The Love Bug and on to Herbie Fully Loaded.
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Volkswagen launched the New Beetle in the 1998 model year with a view to whimsy with a built-in flower vase. It found success with 80,000 sold in the US in 1999.
The car manufacturer upgraded Beetle again for 2012, but sales sputtered as time went on and SUVs became popular in the United States. As Volkswagen writes in a love letter to its most famous creation: "Cult is not necessarily synonymous with sales. … Beetle has not been able to achieve the global success of the new" Volkswagen ", the Gulf.
The current Beetle starts at $ 20,895 and also comes in a sporty convertible model. Both finish production on Friday.
Beetle is not produced in Germany since the 1970s. But the production of the original Beetle continued at the Puebla plant until 2003, and later issues were produced exclusively in Puebla.
Gene J. Puskar / AP
The factory in Puebla has been producing cars for more than 60 years and is a worldwide export hub for VW's vehicles. When it stops producing the Beetle, it will turn out to produce a new compact SUV that will be placed under the company's Tiguan model.
While the production of Beetle ends, nostalgia doesn't think it's over. Volkswagen plans to launch a new version of its classic VW bus in 2022 – this time it is electric.
And in this time when most things can restart, VW did not close the door forever at the Beetle.
"[T] here are no immediate plans to replace it," said Volkswagen Group of America, then President and CEO Hinrich Woebcken last year. "I would also say," Never say never. ""