Volkswagen’s last Beetle to leave the factory this week

Car and Driver 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition interior

Car and Driver 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition interior

All second- and third-generation Beetles have been built by Volkswagen de Mexico, Puebla, and have been sold in 91 markets worldwide.

Its legacy harkens back to the 1930s, when Ferdinand Porsche, the prolific engineer behind the famed luxury vehicle brand, chose to design a "People's Car" - or "Volkswagen" in German.

Aspects of the auto bore similarities to the Tatra T97, made in Czechoslovakia in 1937, and to sketches by Hungarian engineer Bela Barenyi published in 1934.

The freed-up factory space in Mexico will be used to produce a new compact SUV intended for the North American market, the company said in a news release.

Instead, the massive new plant in what was then countryside east of Hanover turned out military vehicles, using forced laborers from all over Europe under miserable conditions. By the time manufacture of that first model wrapped up in Mexico in 2003, more than 21 million Beetles had spread around the world. Post-war production of the "people's car" began in 1949 and by 1955 there were 1 million Beetles on the road.

United States production of Porsche's original design finished in the 1970s. Unconventional, sometimes humorous advertising from agency Doyle Dane Bernbach urged vehicle buyers to "Think small".

The bug-shaped metallic blue sedan rolled off the production line in central Mexico to rapturous applause, the last of a model first manufactured in the late 1930s. The new Beetle started production in 1998, and the design was tweaked in 2012.

The New Beetle was designed by American J Mays.

The "bug", as the Beetle was nicknamed, debuted in 1938 as an affordable vehicle commissioned by Adolf Hitler to promote auto ownership among Germans. 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.

The last of the 5,961 Final Edition models will be put on display in a museum following a ceremony in Puebla on July 10, 2019.

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