So Long, Love Bug. Volkswagen Beetle Hits The End Of The Road

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen confirmed on Thursday that it's sending the iconic Beetle to the proverbial scrap yard in 2019 - almost seven decades after it first hit first American highways and byways. That is the year the auto was taken off the market in the USA, production continued in Mexico and Latin America.

Beetles became a global phenomenon after managing to shake off their Nazi roots. Their increasing popularity in the United States in the 1960s prompted Volkswagen to build its first manufacturing plant in North America in order to meet the demand. According to the company's statement, two special Beetle models will join the final lineup - Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL with driver-assistance technology, but released for U.S. markets.

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Editions is now available in the US.

The Beetle played the starring role of Herbie in the 1968 Disney film, "The Love Bug".

Dubbed the "People's vehicle", the original Beetle was designed by Adolf Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche to be cheap and simple, and continued production right through to 2003. Actor Arshad Warsi also owns a Beetle.

Beetle buying in the U.S. peaked the same year of the original Disney movie at about 423,000 units sold.

The result attracted mainly female buyers.

The company is not leaving behind all of its well-known older models.

Volkswagen plans to produce a special "Final Edition" celebration Beetle series in the car's sole factory in Mexico. There will also be standard extra chrome, new wheels and three-colour ambient lighting inside.

Both the Final Edition SE and SEL will be offered in coupe and convertible bodies and will have exclusive equipment and interior bits.

"I would say 'never say never, '" VW of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said in a statement.

Despite the car's cultural credentials, sales have fallen in recent years, particularly in the key USA market, as consumers turn increasingly to larger cars and sports vehicles.

It came after authorities cracked down on Volkswagen over the installation of so-called "defeat devices" into 11 million cars worldwide to fool regulatory emissions tests.

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