Plot twist - it’s not really dead. Or is it?
Right on cue, Volkswagen’s final modern-era Beetle has rolled off the assembly line at their manufacturing facility in Puebla, Mexico - a Stonewashed Blue coupe example of the 3rd-generation car that’s surely destined for a static existence in a museum either there or in Wolfsburg.
As the Type 1, the first-generation Beetle, despite its origins, gave Volkswagen a huge head start in the booming post-WWII automotive industry. To date, over 21.5 million cars bearing the Beetle name have been produced, mobilising multiple generations of car buyers young and old.
With the most recent version, which made its production debut in 2012, over 500,000 units have been built – all from this one location in Mexico. It’s a sad moment, surely, for all fans of the Beetle and of Volkswagen, who surely would not have flourished as they have if not for their iconic first production vehicle.
Perhaps even more disheartening is the fact that, with the line now vacated, the company will use it for an as-yet undisclosed crossover developed for the North American market. How very telling of the all-invading rein of the SUV as the default style of automobile.
“It’s impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle,” said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America.
“From its first import in 1949 to today’s retro-inspired design, it has showcased our company’s ability to fit round pegs into square holes of the automotive industry. While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished,” he added.
But then again, there’s no predicting if the tides would turn in favour of the Beetle somewhere further along the road. Should the commercial climate permit and Volkswagen could justify its return, there shouldn’t be much else standing in the way of yet another resurrected bug. Stranger cars have come back from the dead.