End of an Era: Volkswagen Ends Production of the Beetle

Car and Driver VW pays tribute to the end of the air-cooled run with these Final Edition water-cooled Beetles

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.

The Beetle was originally commissioned by Adolf Hilter in the early 1930s as a basic auto that all Germans could afford, with Porsche being tasked with development, and the first cars went on sale in 1938.

Volkswagen has produced the very last Beetle at its Puebla facility in Mexico, marking the end of an eight-year production run for the third-generation model.

After its celebration, the final Beetle will be displayed at Volkswagen's museum in the city of Puebla, Mexico.

Instead, the massive new plant in what was then countryside east of Hanover turned out military vehicles, using forced laborers from all over Europe under miserable conditions.

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.


United States production of Porsche's original design finished in the 1970s.

In late 2018, Volkswagen announced that its Beetle production would come to an end.

The Beetle had evolved significantly throughout its years of production.

Its fame was solidified with Walt Disney Productions' 1968 film "The Love Bug", which features an anthropomorphic Beetle named Herbie that makes a splash on the California racing circuit.

In a statement, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh said "It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle". 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. As a side note, Wolfsburg was founded in 1938 by the Nazi regime to house the German automaker's workforce.

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