VW Beetle Production Ends As Final Car Is Built In Mexico

Car and Driver 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition rear

Car and Driver 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition rear

There aren't many things beloved both by hippies and Nazis.

German auto giant Volkswagen launched the final edition of its iconic "Beetle" vehicle from its Mexican factory in Puebla on Wednesday.

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. It was Adolf Hitler who had appointed Ferdinand Porsche to design "the people's car". More than 21 million were produced over the car's 65-year lifespan. Porsche designed the vehicle at the behest of Adolf Hitler but the Volkswagen auto didn't enter full production until after World War II. Unconventional, sometimes humorous advertising from agency Doyle Dane Bernbach urged vehicle buyers to "Think small".

This will mark the first time since Beetle production was restarted in 1945 at the end of World War 2 that the nameplate won't be in the company's portfolio, and there are no plans to resurrect it in the foreseeable future. The latest model was based on the Golf platform and had the engine transversely mounted at the front. But the Beetle wasn't dead yet.

The bug-shaped metallic blue sedan rolled off the production line in central Mexico to rapturous applause, the last of a model first manufactured in the late 1930s. Nicknamed the "vochito", the vehicle made itself at home as a rugged, Mexican-made carro del pueblo. The new Beetle started production in 1998, and the design was tweaked in 2012. The current design was the third version of the Beetle after two earlier cancellations and revivals of the marque.

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 end of the Beetle comes at a turning point for Volkswagen as it rebounds from a scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests. The company will celebrate the Beetle's discontinuation with a ceremony at the factory.