Volkswagen axes the iconic Beetle

Volkswagen has confirmed that production of its legendary Beetle will end next year at the firm’s Mexico plant.

Production will stop in July 2019, with Volkswagen announcing the launch of ‘Final Edition’ models to mark the end of an era. They will come in in either SE or SEL specification, although this will only be sold in the US.

While the Beetle has been one of Volkswagen’s best-selling cars in history, the latest model’s sales have dwindled, with just 1,598 finding homes in the UK in 2017 across hatchback and cabriolet bodytypes.

Rumours have been circling around the car’s demise for some time, but it was yesterday when Volkswagen’s US branch officially confirmed that the final curtain was coming down on the model.

Volkswagen has not completely ruled out reviving the Beetle again, but it’s unlikely that the nameplate will be seen on a new car for some time.

Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America, said: “The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans.

“We’re excited to kick off a year of celebrating one of the true icons of the automotive world with a series of events that will culminate in the end of production in Puebla in July 2019.”

The Final Edition cars will be painted in unique beige and blue colours – a nod to the final special edition of the original – and also come with extra chrome and different wheels.

The Beetle is steeped in history, and was first drafted in Germany in the 1930s by the Nazi regime as the ‘People’s Car’. It was a scheme whereby members of the German working population could buy into a program through the ‘Kraft durch Freude’ leisure organisation – translated as ‘Strength Through Joy’ – in the hope to receive a car.

The car was continuously built until 2003 in Mexico, although the car had not been sold in Europe and the US for many years before that. Over 21 million were built in that time.

A ‘New Beetle’ was launched in 1998, with the latest iteration reaching showrooms in 2012.

Despite Volkswagen no longer listing the Beetle on its UK website, a number of nearly-new and pre-registered cars can still be bought through the UK’s franchised dealer network.

Ted Welford


September 14, 2018

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