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End of the road for iconic ‘People’s Car’

Volkswagen Beetle
A person checks his Volkswagen Beetle through the celebrations of the Nationwide day of the Beetle in Sao Bernardo do Campo January 23, 2011. Homeowners of Volkswagen Beetles come collectively throughout this annual occasion which celebrates the automotive’s historical past in Brazil’s car trade.
Reuters/Fernando Donasci

DETROIT — After almost seven a long time of manufacturing, Volkswagen has determined to squash its iconic Beetle.

The corporate’s American unit introduced that it will finish world manufacturing of the third-generation bulbous bug in July of subsequent yr after providing two particular editions on the market.

The originating idea behind the primary Volkswagen, the corporate, and its identify, is the notion of a folks’s automotive – a automotive inexpensive and sensible sufficient for frequent folks to personal.

The compact Beetle – designed by Ferdinand Porsche – was launched in Germany in 1938 through the Nazi period and got here to the U.S. 11 years later, the place it turned an emblem of utilitarian transportation usually utilized by hippies. The long-lasting automotive offered for about 30 years earlier than U.S. gross sales stopped in 1979. The final of the unique bugs was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in 2003.

Volkswagen revived it within the U.S. in 1998 as a extra fashionable “New Beetle,” but it surely attracted primarily feminine consumers. The corporate revamped it for the 2012 mannequin yr in an effort to make it enchantment to males, giving it a flatter roof, much less bulbous form, an even bigger trunk and a navigation system. U.S. gross sales rose fivefold to greater than 29,000 within the first yr, rising to simply over 46,000 in 2013 however tailing off after that. Final yr VW offered solely 15,166, based on Autodata Corp.

The particular editions, which are available in coupe and convertible physique types, get distinctive beige and blue colours along with the traditional hues. Additionally they get normal further chrome, new wheels and three-color ambient lighting inside.

Volkswagen has no rapid plans to revive the Beetle once more, however the firm would not rule it out.

“I might say ‘by no means say by no means,'” VW of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken mentioned in a press release.

The corporate plans to roll out an electrical model of the previous Bus in 2022 referred to as the I.D. Buzz.


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