The writing has been on the wall for years. But yesterday saw the last Volkswagen Beetle roll off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico bringing an end to one of the most iconic vehicles ever made. Sad, yes, but also inevitable.
The VW Beetle was developed in 1938 after Adolf Hitler wanted a car that would be affordable for the people with mass production beginning in earnest in 1945. Surely Hitler, let alone VW, had no idea that the Bug, as it would be affectionately known, would go on to sell 21 million units worldwide with only one major design update (in 1998) from the original. The success of the Bug was based not only on its affordability but also on its styling; everyone from the elderly grandmother doing her weekly shopping to the boy racer who constantly tinkered with the engine for more power, the Bug was a go-to choice. Not many cars today can boast that level of cross-generational appeal (although, ironically, the VW Golf is very close!).
The proliferation of the SUV proved to be the death knell for the Beetle. The VW factory in Puebla, Mexico is now set to produce the VW Tarek cross-over SUV with the majority of supply heading north of the border. Interestingly, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by analysts that because VW has now ended production of one of the most successful car designs in history that “peak-SUV” could be soon approaching.
To this I say… only time will tell!