7/9/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

End of the Line for VW Beetle

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Volkswagen AG is ending production of the iconic Beetle on July 10.

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Volkswagen AG is ending production of the iconic Beetle small car on July 10.

More than 21.5 million Beetles have been sold worldwide since the car’s commercial debut in 1946. The vehicle was the top-selling nameplate of all-time until its mechanical successor, the Golf hatchback, surpassed it in 2002.

The latest version (pictured) of the Beetle was launched in 2011. VW built about 6,000 of the “Final Edition” models, which were announced last August, at its massive assembly complex in Puebla, Mexico, with the last-off-the-line Bug destined for a nearby museum.

Based on a sketch by Hungarian engineer Bela Bereni and developed by Ferdinand Porsche, the Beetle’s origins date back to 1938 as part of Germany’s plans to build a “people’s car.” Officially known as the Volkswagen Type 1, the quirky hatchback was nicknamed the Kafer (German for Beetle) for its rounded silhouette when mass production began in Wolfsburg in the 1940s. Initial models were powered by an air-cooled 1131-cc engine that generated 25 hp.

The one millionth Beetle was produced in 1955. By 1972, cumulative output had surged to more than 15 million units, with the U.S. accounting for the bulk of sales.

VW stopped producing the Beetle in Wolfsburg in 1978 and ceased production of the Type 1 model in Mexico in 2003. The redesigned New Beetle was built in Puebla from 1997 to 2011.