Economy

Last Volkswagen Beetle drives into the sunset

Last Volkswagen Beetle drives into the sunset”

Porsche designed the vehicle at the behest of Adolf Hitler but the Volkswagen auto didn't enter full production until after World War II.

Known as the Type 1 back when Volkswagen was nothing more than the dream of a mad man, the Beetle was redesigned from the ground up in 1997 with the introduction of the New Beetle.

The freed-up factory space in Mexico will be used to produce a new compact SUV intended for the North American market, the company said in a news release.

The car's original design - a rounded silhouette with seating for four or five, almost vertical windshield and the air-cooled engine in the rear - can be traced back to Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche, who was hired to fulfill Adolf Hitler's project for a "people's car" that would spread auto ownership the way the Ford Model T had in the U.S.

The "Final Edition" Beetle series is still available for purchase in the United States, reports CNN, with base prices of $23,045 for a coupe and $27,295 for a convertible. The 1968 movie "The Love Bug", which featured a zany anthropomorphic vehicle, stoked Beetle fever.

"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle", said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. In 1998, the New Beetle-an early automotive adopter of "modern retro" design language-re-introduced the familiar silhouette to a new generation of drivers, and sold more than 1.2 million cars between 1998 and 2010. "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished".

Volkswagen employees pose with a "Beetle", the final edition of the iconic vehicle, at a factory in Puebla, Puebla State, Mexico, on July 10, 2019.

Market trends have shifted drastically since the Beetle's heyday.

"In this environment the business case for cars in general, and small cars in particular, becomes increasingly hard to justify", Bauer said.

The final auto produced by Volkswagen de Mexico's Puebla plant-a Denim Blue coupe-will live on display at Volkswagen's local museum in Puebla as a lasting tribute to the automobile's rich and storied heritage.



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