July 10 (UPI) — The Volkswagen Beetle will go out of production this week after 82 years and three different models.
The final Beetle is set to be produced in Puebla, Mexico, on Wednesday, marking an end for the German automobile manufacturer and millions of people throughout the world who purchased the unique vehicle.
“It’s impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished.”
The Beetle was originally designed by Ferdinand Porsche for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1938 as the Volkswagen Type 1.
After World War II, British authorities relaunched production of the Beetle until the Volkswagen factory was transferred to the German government in 1949.
Beetles became popular in Europe in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and eventually were adopted by Americans, selling more than 500,000 vehicles in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.
Volkswagen sought to rely on the nostalgic popularity of the Beetle in the early 1990s by launching the New Beetle, a re-imagining of the car with more rounded edges and modern features.
Sales of the New Beetle caught on in the United States and the model was credited with helping the company’s U.S. arm rebound from a sales slump in the decade.
The third-generation model, released in 2012, more closely resembled the original Beetle and sold well initially before sales began to slide.
Ultimately, Volkswagen announced last fall that the design would be discontinued with production officially ending on Friday.