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Volkswagen to stop making iconic Beetle next summer

15 September 2018

But Volkswagen chief Woebcken left open the possibility that the Beetle may one day rise from the grave. Perhaps it can take another in its stride. The Beetles have been made in Puebla, Mexico, since 1997 - but only about 15,000 were sold in the United States past year as many customers switched preferences to sport-utility vehicles and other models.

The Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition from L.A is finished in a new Aquarius Blue colour along with the option of a hard roof in black colour or a soft top in black colour.

The company said two special models - Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL - will join the final lineup in the United States and would offer driver-assistance technology.

The Final Edition SE gets standard chrome accents, body-colored side mirrors, heated washer nozzles, 17-inch wheels and a sunroof.

Volkswagen to stop making iconic Beetle next summer
Volkswagen to stop making iconic Beetle next summer

Volkswagen revived it in the 1998 as a more modern "New Beetle", but it attracted mainly female buyers.

One such auto is Volkswagen's Beetle.

"The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over almost seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle's many devoted fans", said Volkswagen US CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken.

Despite its origins in Nazi Germany, the vehicle became an icon of surfing culture as well as the counterculture movement during the 1960s, spurred on by a creative ad campaign for the auto. He originally named the vehicle the "Kraft Durch Freude" meaning "strength through joy" but it was later changed to "Volkswagen".

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But sales, particularly in the key United States market, have fallen in recent years.

Volkswagen has announced it will end production of the Beetle in 2019.

The vehicle was also immortalized in films, including the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug" featuring the Beetle Herbie, and was featured in Andy Warhol's colorful graphic prints.

Production of the Beetle has ceased and then been revived several times over the decades, with the last of the original design rolling out of VW's Mexican factory in 2003.

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USA sales of the Beetle slumped to just 15,166 in 2017, less than one-seventh the sales of the Jetta sedan.

Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, expects other US vehicle nameplates to be scrapped in coming months.

"In the months to come more automakers will be announcing more iconic model cancellations".

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Volkswagen to stop making iconic Beetle next summer