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19 September 2018


Volkswagen to terminate iconic 'Beetle' cars

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Volkswagen announced Thursday it would end production of its iconic "Beetle" cars in 2019 after adding a pair of final editions of the bug-shaped vehicles.

Axar.az reports Business Insider.

The curvy-topped sedans, which shook off Nazi origins to become a global auto phenomenon, are being sidelined as Volkswagen emphasizes electric cars and larger family-oriented vehicles.

"As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the US and ramp up our electrification strategy...there are no immediate plans to replace it," Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America said in a statement.

"But, I would also say, never say never," he added.

"The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle's many devoted fans," Woebcken said.

'60s icon

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." After the war, the Allied countries eventually made Volkswagen a priority in an effort to revive the German auto industry.

The sedans made their US debut in the 1950s, but sales were weak, in part owing to the company's Nazi origins.

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

It became a symbol of utilitarian transportation often used by hippies.

Andy Warhol did prints featuring the car and a Beetle featured prominently on the cover of "Abbey Road," the final Beatles album to be recorded.

U.S. sales ceased in 1979, but the vehicle continued to be produced in Mexico and Brazil, according to Car and Driver. The last of the original bugs was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in 2003.

VW revived the "New Beetle" in the United States in 1997.

The special editions, which come in coupe and convertible body styles, get unique beige and blue colors in addition to the normal hues. They also get standard extra chrome, new wheels and three-color ambient lighting inside.

U.S. sales rose fivefold to more than 29,000 in the first year, rising to just over 46,000 in 2013 but tailing off after that. Beetle sales slipped 3.2 percent to 15,667 in 2017 in the United States, a fraction of the sales for the Jetta and Passat sedans.

VW continues to deal with the fallout from the "dieselgate" scandal that broke in September 2015.

Date
2018.09.14 / 17:24
Author
Axar.az
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