The last VW Beetle rolled off the production line this week
The Volkswagen Beetle is arguably one of the most iconic cars ever made, and has certainly had a colourful history. The Beetle started its life as the poster child for Adolf Hitler's idea of a "people's car", despite no one actually getting the chance to buy one until the end of World War 2 when the British restarted production.
The Beetle was originally designed by Ferdinand Porsche, who later went on to start Porsche after the war had ended. The original Beetle was a remarkably simple car, with a rear-mounted air-cooled engine, a spacious interior designed to carry four or five people and the boot was in the front. This design was used up until the 1990s when it was replaced by the front-engined New Beetle. This was built on the Golf Mk4 platform and started the 'retro boom', which lead to things like the regenerated BMW Mini and Fiat 500 to name a few.
The New Beetle was replaced by the Beetle in 2011 and has been in production since. Well, its time is now up with it ending production for good this week. The last Beetle has rolled off the production line in Mexico this week and will be shipped to a museum after celebrations at the factory.
It's a real shame to see the Beetle disappearing because it has been on sale in one form or another since the late 1930s, meaning that Beetle's have been about for 81 years. The original Beetle managed to be a sales hit with over 21.5 million being sold until the New Beetle and Beetle took over. The latter two only managed to sell about 500,000 globally since the redesign in the 1990s.
The Beetle has earned itself its iconic status as it's a cult icon. Sure, it had some unfortunate relations to Hitler and the Nazi Party in the 1930s but after the war, the Beetle helped West Germany get back on its feet. It was a hit in America too which was a core market for post-war Volkswagen. The Beetle has been the recurring star of the Herbie series of films, with the most recent coming out in 2005.
The Beetle has also been a popular choice in the modified car scene due to how cheap classic ones can be and the scope of modifications you can do to them.
I've never been the biggest fan of the Beetle but I can appreciate it for the impact it has caused for the auto industry and enthusiasts. It will be missed.