Goodbye, 'Love Bug': The Volkswagen Beetle is going extinct

The Volkswagen Beetle has been popular for decades

The last bugs that VW will produce are set to roll off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico, on Wednesday. While the third-generation model wasn't very popular, Volkswagen sold almost five million Beetles in the United States.

"Unlike in West Germany, where its low price, quality and durability stood for a new postwar normality, in the United States the Beetle's characteristics lent it a profoundly unconventional air in a auto culture dominated by size and showmanship", wrote Bernhard Rieger in his 2013 history The People's vehicle.

The company is gearing up for mass production of the battery-driven compact ID.3, a vehicle that the company predicts will have an impact like that of the Beetle and the Golf by bringing electric mobility to a mass market.

"While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished", said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. But don't expect to see this particular Beetle hitting the streets however as Volkswagen plans to keep it for themselves. Powered by an air-cooled engine instead of a water-cooled one, its simple mechanics meant it was a cheap and durable vehicle that can be used by all during the postwar era. When it was first launched as a project of Germany's Third Reich, it became a symbol of post-war Germany and the rise of the middle class. The new Beetle started production in 1998, and the design was tweaked in 2012. The third and final Beetle was introduced in 2011 and more than 500,000 units have been built since then.

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Introduced for the first time in 1949, Volkswagen went on to sell close to five million Beetles in the U.S alone.

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".

Known as the Type 1 back when Volkswagen was nothing more than the dream of a mad man, the Beetle was redesigned from the ground up in 1997 with the introduction of the New Beetle.

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.

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