Last Volkswagen Beetle drives into the sunset


The Puebla plant, which has been making Beetles since 1967, will replace the Beetle on the production line with a compact SUV that will slot beneath the VW Tiguan and be sold in the North American market.

After its multi-generational run as a brand mainstay and global automotive phenomenon, the Volkswagen Beetle is ending production.

The auto was very popular in the United States and has an iconic design that is among the most recognizable products of any sort in the entire world.

"Unlike in West Germany, where its low price, quality and durability stood for a new postwar normality, in the United States the Beetle's characteristics lent it a profoundly unconventional air in a vehicle culture dominated by size and showmanship", wrote Bernhard Rieger in his 2013 history The People's auto.

Its legacy harkens back to the 1930s, when Ferdinand Porsche, the prolific engineer behind the famed luxury vehicle brand, made a decision to design a "People's Car" - or "Volkswagen" in German. It's available in convertible or hardtop, 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".

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"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle", Volkswagen CEO Scott Keogh said in a statement.

The Beetle was first built in Wolfsburg, Germany, but the auto was manufactured in more than a dozen locations around the world over the years before production was consolidated in Puebla, Mexico. "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished".

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.

Volkswagen rolled the last Beetle off the assembly line on Wednesday (July 10), the end of the road for a vehicle that ran from Nazi Germany through hippie counterculture but failed to navigate a swerve in consumer tastes toward SUVs.