The final car built by Karmann, which also does contract work for other carmakers, was a Mercedes-Benz CLK - now replaced by the E-Class Coupe. The convertible rolled off the line on Monday. A company statement said simply, "Today, the last car built entirely by Karmann rolled off the assembly line," reports The Straits Times, leaving the world to guess at the possibility of a new Karmann coming back to life with one or more co-owners.
The shutdown and insolvency filing was precipitated most immediately by a fight with its workers union, IG Metall, but ultimately the industry slowdown, which has called for a reduction in production capacity across the board, is to blame.
The Karmann Ghia, a coachbuilt Volkswagen coupe and convertible, along with the Beetle, Ford Escort, Mercedes CLK and several Audi cabrios, accounted for Karmann's 3.3 million-vehicle output since 1949.