Finish of an icon: The final Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the manufacturing line

Even a bug’s life is finite. After greater than seven a long time of manufacturing spanning three generations, the Volkswagen Beetle is lastly heading to the large parking zone within the sky. The ultimate Beetle will roll off the meeting line in Puebla, Mexico, July 10. The manufacturing unit will change to constructing a brand new SUV for the North American market.

The Beetle’s demise has been a very long time coming. The present, third-generation Beetle has by no means been in a position to entice the identical quantity of gross sales as its predecessors. Often known as the Kind 1, the unique Beetle pivoted from Nazi propaganda device to cultural icon. By the point the final one was in-built 2003, Volkswagen had offered 21.5 million first-generation Beetles worldwide. The second-generation, which was launched because the New Beetle as a result of the unique was nonetheless being in-built Mexico, helped kick off a wave of retro designs. Volkswagen offered 1.2 million of them between 1998 and 2010.

The third-generation Beetle was supposed to select up the place the New Beetle left off, combining basic Beetle styling with trendy mechanicals. To broaden its enchantment, Volkswagen made the third-generation mannequin much less cutesy than its predecessor. VW additionally launched a #PinkBeetle mannequin, and took it rallycross racing, to lift its profile. However the third-generation Beetle didn’t have the novel rear-engine, air-cooled design of the unique, and it by no means turned a style icon like the brand new Beetle. Nonetheless, VW mentioned greater than 500,000 have been constructed for the reason that remaining iteration of the Beetle launched in 2011 as a 2012 mannequin.

Volkswagen introduced the top of Beetle manufacturing in late 2018, launching a special-edition mannequin to commemorate the top of manufacturing. The final Beetle, a Denim Blue coupe, can be placed on show at Volkswagen’s museum in Puebla. The final Beetles constructed for the US — a pair of Kings Purple vehicles with customized dashboards, keys, and quilted seats, will be a part of Volkswagen of America’s historic assortment.

Volkswagen has no plans for a direct Beetle substitute. As a substitute, manufacturing capability on the Puebla manufacturing unit can be reallocated to a “new compact SUV tailor-made to the North American market, slotting into the lineup beneath the Tiguan,” a VW press launch mentioned. An SUV will in all probability do extra for Volkswagen’s backside line than the niche-market Beetle, but it surely means the automotive panorama is about to change into rather less fascinating.

The Beetle could also be gone, however VW isn’t performed with retro designs. In 2022, the German automaker plans to launch a manufacturing model of the I.D. Buzz idea. It’s an all-electric homage to that different iconic Volkswagen — the Microbus. The I.D. Buzz can be one among a spread of recent electrical Volkswagens arriving over the following decade. Possibly VW will finally discover room in its lineup for an electrical Beetle, too.

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