It was in 1938 that the Volkswagen Type 1, more commonly referred to as the Beetle, or “Käfer” in its home market of Germany, first rolled off the line. Eight decades on and the nameplate has finally been retired.
The last Beetle, a coupe finished in Denim Blue, rolled off the line at VW's plant in Puebla, Mexico, on Wednesday. It won't be sold, though. Instead, VW will keep it at its museum in Puebla.
There have been three generations of the Beetle: the original icon, the New Beetle launched for 1998, and the current Beetle introduced for 2012. The original continued to be built in Puebla until 2003, with more than 21 million examples sold worldwide during its run.
Final Volkswagen Beetle at Puebla, Mexico, assembly plant
The 2019 model year is the last for the Beetle. To mark the car's end, VW launched a Beetle Final Edition model. It came with a few special touches mirroring features on the final example of the original Beetle.
VW's decision to drop the Beetle isn't surprising as sales have slowed to a trickle. The U.S. is the nameplate's biggest market and less than 15,000 were sold here last year. VW plans to use the freed capacity as its Puebla plant to build a U.S.-bound compact crossover, which is rumored to be called a Tarek.
While whispers of the Beetle's return as an EV have persisted following VW's battery-electric transformation, fans shouldn't hold out hope for a successor. VW has confirmed that a redesigned Beetle isn't planned as the automaker is now focused on a spiritual successor to the Microbus. It's coming early next decade in the form of a production version of 2017's ID Buzz concept.