German Auto Company, Volkswagen has announced plans to stop the production of its iconic “Beetle” cars in 2019 after adding a pair of final editions of the bug-inspired vehicles famous throughout the 60’s up until the early 90’s before its popularity started to decline.
The vehicles had been widely used by the Nazis during WWII, a reputation which did not hinder the brand from becoming a world-wide phenomenon; it however is being out away in favour of modern electric cars and larger family-oriented vehicles.
Te development comes as Volkswagen is still trying to shake off the “dieselgate” scandal that nearly ruined the company in 2015. Volkswagen had considered the option of revamping the Beetle as a way out of the scandal just like it had revamped the Volkswagen Bus earlier; the idea was never carried out however.
According to Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America;
“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, but, I would also say, never say never. 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.”
The two final editions of the Volkswagen Beetle will be offered in both coupe and convertible styles. The cars will include nods to earlier versions and be priced at $23,045 and up, the company said.
The history of the Volkswagen Beetle dates back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler, who started the state-run Volkswagenwerk or “The People’s Car Company in 1937.
Allied countries that emerged victorious from WWII decided to keep Volkswagen as a priority in order to revive the German auto industry.
The Beetle was sold in the United States in the 1950s, but sales were weak in the first few years due to the Nazi origins of Volkswagen as a company.
The car was then rechristened as the Beetle by an advertising agency owned by Doyle Dane Bernback in 1959 that began to present the vehicle’s small size as an advantage to consumers.
The Volkswagen Beetle attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie “The Love Bug,” that told the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own.
Andy Warhol also did prints featuring the car while a Beetle was the most prominent car in the background of “Abbey Road,” the final Beatles album to be recorded.