Chances are you have seen the Volkswagen Beetle on the streets. With round headlights, curved roof, and the wide palette of colors it comes in, this classic is instantly recognizable!
Sadly, the last Beetle recently rode out of its factory in Puebla, Mexico and headed off into the July sunset. The denim-blue car was surrounded by a crowd of proud factory workers who wished it farewell while also being serenaded by a mariachi band.
History of the Bug
Did you know that the car's history dates back to the Nazis of Germany?
In fact, Volkswagen was a project thought up by Adolf Hitler himself in the 1930s, its cars to be utilized for both military and civilian purposes. Hitler wanted to create a “people’s car” which in German translates to “volkswagen”. The company was relaunched in Britain after World War II in an attempt to dissociate it from its past.
It wasn’t until several decades later that multiple rebranding efforts paid off. It happened in the groovy 60s while hippie culture was in full swing. Along with Volkswagen’s Microbus, the Beetle became a symbol of the flower-power era.
The Beetle, affectionately nicknamed the “Bug”, was a charming car that quickly became an icon in popular culture. It constantly popped up on TV and in movies. Some of the most famous examples are found in Disney’s Herbie the Love Bug, ABC’s Once Upon A Time, and Lionsgate’s Mad Men. The car was so popular that it held the record for the most-sold car from 1971 to 2000.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The Beetle went through three different models during its lifetime. The car, being introduced in 1938, was revamped in 1998 and 2012. There is also a convertible version of the Beetle being sold. The third version is the best by all means but it lacks the same charisma as its predecessors.
Volkswagen aimed to have the third model appeal to a wider audience because the “cutesy” look of the Beetle Type 2 was mainly attracting female buyers. By doing so, it lost its character. It seemed the world had moved on to more modern styles of automobiles. Volkswagen has wrapped up the Beetle line, currently manufacturing final special edition cars to be sold in North America.
There is still hope that the Beetle will return to the market in the future. The CEO of Volkswagen has stated that there are no plans in the near future to revive the Bug, but reminds us to “never say never”. The company has confirmed that a reboot of Beetle’s cousin, the famed Microbus will happen within the next few years. This time, it will be modernized into a sleek electric car.
Until news is heard again of the beloved Bug, the car will rest in the hall of fame for automobiles.
Sources: WSJ, CBS, Fast Company, Bloomberg