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Volkswagen has pulled the plug on production of one of its most iconic cars, the Beetle. It was a car that was originally launched under Hitler’s rule, way back in 1938. The Final Edition and last ever unit of the Beetle was rolled off the production floor and will be put in the Volkswagen museum in Puebla, Mexico, near the plant where the Beetle has been manufactured from 1967 till now.
The Beetle was designed under the instructions of Adolf Hitler as a car mass produced for Germany’s new road network. But, because of the war, it was only around 1938 that the first civilian Beetle was launched and it was called the Volkswagen Type 1. VW sold their millionth Beetle in 1955 and the model that marked this monumental moment was the Type 1. VW sold roughly 21.5 million of these Beetles worldwide out of which five million were sold in the U.S. It is one of the first rear-engine cars in the world and would make roughly 24.6bhp and the power figures went up to around 39.4bhp as the autobahn speeds went up. This 39.4bhp rear engine came to be known as the ‘classic’ VW motor and is one of the reasons the rear engine trend caught on. The Beetle has been amongst the longest run production cars and the car did well in terms of sales globally
Over time, front-engine hatchbacks took over the European market and the Beetle slowly began to lose its customer base. This was until the 1998 ‘New Beetle’ introduced based on the VW Golf platform and took strong design cues from the original Type 1. The final update came to the car in 2011 and that has been on sale since.
65 units of the Final Edition of the Beetle can be bought in Mexico. Volkswagen had announced its intentions to end production of the Beetle last year itself, but are there plans to reintroduce the icon or is this actually the end? The next time we see a Beetle will probably be an electric car!
Words by Karan Ramgopal