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VW ends an era as last Beetle rolls off production line

July 31, 2019driversclub

We knew it was coming, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t hit us where it hurts: Volkswagen has ceased production of the iconic Beetle.

The last of these quirky, much-cherished cars – a Denim Blue Coupe – ceremoniously rolled off the production line at the Volkswagen plant in Mexico, marking the end of an era for motoring enthusiasts.

VW’s Beetle: a true icon and a hippy must-have

The Beetle got its public debut at the Berlin Motor Show in 1939 and, post-war, became a smash hit. It had sold a million by 1955 alone and a further million Type 1s were being made every year by 1971.

Popularity was driven by the car’s cult status and hippy symbolism during the 1960s, as well as the Herbie movies like The Love Bug.

A revamped version of the car in 1998 saw a flower holder placed on the dashboard as a nod to this ‘free love’ generation.

The third incarnation arrived in 2011, but by then, the Beetle’s success had started to wane. While it remained cherished as a nostalgic part of our automotive history, sales started to become disappointing for Volkswagen compared to other models like the Golf.

Last year, the brand announced it would go out of production in 2019 – and now that day has come. You can still find a new one here in the UK for the time being, and VW will continue to build those it already has orders for, but it has stopped taking new orders.

After 80 years and 21 million vehicles across the globe, the glorious, anthropomorphic Beetle will officially be no more.

However, VW spokesperson Hinrich Woebcken said last year that although there are no imminent plans to replace it, “I would also say, ‘never say never'”.

And there have been suggestions that the Beetle could be reborn as a bigger, four-door, battery-electric vehicle for the future of green driving – so watch this space, Beetle fans!

Steve Clarke, marketing manager at Drivers Club News, comments: “We’ll miss the Beetle and this really is the end of an era – but it would certainly be fitting if a car lauded in the environmentally-conscious 1960s were to be reborn as a sustainable vehicle.”

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