Media Moves

Coverage: VW announces end of the Beetle

July 10, 2019

Posted by Irina Slav

Volkswagen has announced it will halt the production of its iconic Beetle model this week.

Daniel Uria had the news for UPI:

The Volkswagen Beetle will go out of production this week after 82 years and three different models.

The final Beetle is set to be produced in Puebla, Mexico, on Wednesday, marking an end for the German automobile manufacturer and millions of people throughout the world who purchased the unique vehicle.

“It’s impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished.”

The Beetle was originally designed by Ferdinand Porsche for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1938 as the Volkswagen Type 1.

David Kiley had some history for the model for Forbes:

The Beetle was born out of one of the darkest chapters in human history. Adolf Hitler believed that Germany’s rise in the Third Reich would be propelled by building autobahns and giving workers access to the freedom that came with personal transportation.

Ferdinand Porsche was a leading designer and engineer of the day in 1930s Germany and had long had an idea for a car that ordinary people could afford. The Type-1 Volkswagen (The People’s Car) would be Germany’s answer to Ford Motor Co.’s Model T.

German citizens had purchased subscriptions to buy their eventual Volkswagen. But before many could be built, the chassis and production had to be appropriated by the Third Reich to be used for military vehicles.

After the war, displaced German refugees began hand-building Volkswagens in what was left of the Wolfsburg, Germany factory. After a couple of years, a company was formed to begin building them on an assembly line.

AP’s David McHugh reported:

The United States became Volkswagen’s most important foreign market, peaking at 563,522 cars in 1968, or 40% of production. Unconventional, sometimes humorous advertising from agency Doyle Dane Bernbach urged car buyers to “Think small.”

“Unlike in West Germany, where its low price, quality and durability stood for a new postwar normality, in the United States the Beetle’s characteristics lent it a profoundly unconventional air in a car culture dominated by size and showmanship,” wrote Bernhard Rieger in his 2013 history, “The People’s Car.”

Production at Wolfsburg ended in 1978 as newer front drive models like the Golf took over. But the Beetle wasn’t dead yet. Production went on in Mexico from 1967 until 2003 — longer than the car had been made in Germany. Nicknamed the “vochito,” the car made itself at home as a rugged, Mexican-made “carro del pueblo.”

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