Volkswagen to end production of the iconic Beetle next year

The VW Beetle has been dropped from production before and could yet make a comeback

The venerable Volkswagen Beetle has become the latest casualty in America's newfound love affair with crossovers and other light trucks. Perhaps it can take another in its stride. Volkswagen discontinued procution of the Beetle in germany in 1978, but continued production in South Africa, Brazil and Mexico; the last Type 1 Beetles were built in Mexico in 2003.

The Beetle's demise was announced in March but it was unclear at the time how long the stay of execution would last.

The Beetle was originally designed in the 1930s by legendary engineer Ferdinand Porsche at the request of Adolf Hitler, who wanted an low-cost mass-produced vehicle for Germans.

Porsche's factory at Fallersleben, now known as Wolfsburg, had scarcely turned out 200 before the outbreak of the Second World War.

The advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernback in 1959 rechristened the auto the "Beetle", and began touting the vehicle's small size as an advantage to consumers, according to the History Channel.

It's hard to imagine the end of the Beetle name in the Volkswagen portfolio for good.

They attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie The Love Bug, which told the story of a racing vehicle called Herbie with a mind of its own.

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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.

The 2019 Beetle Final Edition coupe starts at $23,045 for SE models or $25,995 for SEL models, while the Beetle Convertible Final Edition starts at $27,295 for SE models and $29,995 for SEL models.

The Beetle, with roots dating back to 1938 in Germany, was revived and updated in 1998 with USA sales of the modern Beetle peaking at 83,434 in 1999.

In a VIN deciphering document noticed by Autoguide, Volkswagen confirmed the 2019 Beetle will offered in four different trim levels.

"I would say, "never say never", Mr Woebcken said.

Volkswagen will end production of its retro Beetle next year, 70 years after the original first came to the United States.

In recent years, sales of the vehicle have taken a hit, dropping year by year and remaining significantly below sales numbers for fellow VW cars the Jetta and the Passat.

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