Volkswagen Beetle goes out of production

The Volkswagen Beetle has been popular for decades

Volkswagen of America has confirmed that the very same factory will now build a "North American market-focused compact SUV that fits in the manufacturer's lineup below the Tiguan".

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.

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

Instead, the massive new plant in what was then countryside east of Hanover turned out military vehicles, using forced laborers from all over Europe under miserable conditions.

With its funky design and cheap price, the vehicle became a success story over subsequent decades and was one of the top-selling models of all time as well as the best-selling import in the United States in the 1960s, according to auto publications.

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The production of the final Beetle model was announced last September by Volkswagen, still trying to turn the page after the costly 2015 "dieselgate" scandal in which it paid out huge government settlements after rigging 11 million cars to cheat regulatory emissions tests.

Its legacy harkens back to the 1930s, when Ferdinand Porsche, the prolific engineer behind the famed luxury vehicle brand, made a decision to design a "People's Car" - or "Volkswagen" in German.

Over the decades that the Volkswagen Beetle was in production, it has meant different things to different people.

"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle", said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. The 1968 movie "The Love Bug,"which featured a zany anthropomorphic vehicle, stoked Beetle fever".

The Beetle name is being put on hiatus after more than 23 million were sold around the world across three generations. "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished". As a side note, Wolfsburg was founded in 1938 by the Nazi regime to house the German automaker's workforce. That's right, it will be a museum piece in Puebla as a lasting tribute to the automobile's rich and storied heritage.

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