Volkswagen has announced that the world-renowned Beetle is to be taken out of production next year – after 80 years on the road.
The compact model was first designed in Germany during the 1930s, after then-Chancellor Adolf Hitler asked Ferdinand Porsche to design a Volkswagen or “people’s car” that could accommodate two adults and three children, be efficient on fuel and could cruise at 62mph – all while being cheap to buy and run.
From there, the Beetle – or Type 1 as it was originally known – was born, and went on to become one of the world’s best-selling cars.
After debuting on the German market in 1938, World War II prevented the model from going truly global, but by 1949, Volkswagen started selling the Beetle in the US – where it became one of the country’s most popular cars and was a sign of easily accessible transport.
The original Beetle continued to be popular in the States until 1979, when it was pulled from the market – but the Type 1 didn’t stop there.
Popular with taxi drivers in Mexico City and with many other drivers around the world, the Type 1 stayed in production until July 2003, when the 21,529,464thunit rolled off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico – 65 years on from the first example back in Germany.
To reinvigorate the Beetle marque, Volkswagen developed the New Beetle, which was introduced in the US in 1998 and included modernised design tweaks but kept the base shape that was instantly recognisable.
Although it didn’t have the same clattering air-cooled engine of the old model, the New Beetle was a kooky and interesting option in the compact market that many were fond of.See Available Volkswagen deals
The New Beetle stayed in service in 2011, at which point Volkswagen introduced a revamped version that brought the Beetle up to date again by being sharper and in many aspects, better looking than its predecessor.
Despite the refresh, the later Beetles couldn’t quite capture the imagination as much as the original, and with sales dwindling, VW has decided to take the model out of production after 81 years by the end of 2019.
As a last hurrah, Volkswagen are producing two special edition models – the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL – for the US. Unfortunately, neither will be coming to the UK.
Both will be available as a coupe or a convertible, with Volkswagen offering it in bespoke beige and denim blue body colours that are inspired by past limited run models.
One crumb of comfort that can be found though is that the Beetle might not be dead forever, as the German brand’s America group boss Hinrich Woebcken said: “Never say never” about bringing it back.
Woebcken added: “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 Beetle has had a good run while it has lasted and will forever be a motoring icon.Enquire Now on a new Volkswagen Beetle