Goodbye, 'Love Bug': the Volkswagen Beetle is going extinct

Car and Driver 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition rear

After roughly seven decades of production and three generations of designs, Volkswagen is retiring its iconic Beetle.

"The loss of the Beetle after three generations and nearly seven decades should provoke a wide variety of emotions", said Steffen Reiche, the CEO of Volkswagen Mexico.

The final Volkswagen Beetle has rolled off the assembly line in Mexico.

The end of Beetle production will allow Puebla's resources to shift production to a new compact SUV tailored to the North American market, slotting into the lineup below the Tiguan. It's available in convertible or hardtop, with base prices of $23,045 for a coupe and $27,295 for a convertible.

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The VW Beetle had the ugliest birth in automotive history - having been conceived by Adolf Hitler - but the friendly little auto went on to have a very successful life.

The vehicle attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug", the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own. "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished", he added. In 1998, the New Beetle-an early automotive adopter of "modern retro" design language-re-introduced the familiar silhouette to a new generation of drivers, and sold more than 1.2 million cars between 1998 and 2010. And it's being killed off to make way for compact SUVs and crossovers.

"Unlike Ford's Mustang and, so far, Dodge's Challenger and Chevrolet's Camaro, Volkswagen will let an iconic model die rather than fight market trends", Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, said a year ago. "Anyone surprised or disappointed by this announcement better prepare themselves". As a side note, Wolfsburg was founded in 1938 by the Nazi regime to house the German automaker's workforce.

The last Beetle was finished in Denim Blue paint and is set to be displayed at VW's museum in Puebla as a "lasting tribute to the automobile's rich and storied heritage".

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