Economy

VW officially ends Beetle production

VW officially ends Beetle production

Soon after the second war to end all wars, the factory in Wolfsburg transitioned to civilian Beetle production in 1947.

The bug-shaped metallic blue sedan rolled off the production line in central Mexico to rapturous applause, the last of a model first manufactured in the late 1930s.

The United States became Volkswagen's most important foreign market, peaking at 563,522 cars in 1968, or 40 per cent of production.

The vehicle's history goes back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler, who in 1937 formed the state-run Volkswagenwerk, or "The People's Car Company".

VW ended production of the Beetle in Germany in 1978. The company will celebrate the Beetle's discontinuation with a ceremony at the factory.

The "Final Edition" Beetle series is still available for purchase in the U.S., reports CNN, with base prices of $23,045 for a coupe and $27,295 for a convertible.

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The auto attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug", the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own. It was powered by an air-cooled engine mounted at the rear and was known for its simple design and reliability.

"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle", Volkswagen CEO Scott Keogh said in a statement. He added "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished".

After its celebration, the final Beetle will be displayed at Volkswagen's museum in the city of Puebla, Mexico. This helped to push global Beetle sales to 21.5 million units overall.

Market trends have shifted drastically since the Beetle's heyday. "Anyone surprised or disappointed by this announcement better prepare themselves".

Volkswagen rolled the last Beetle off the assembly line on Wednesday (July 10), the end of the road for a auto that ran from Nazi Germany through hippie counterculture but failed to navigate a swerve in consumer tastes toward SUVs.