- Volkswagen announced that by the summer of 2019 the world production of the iconic beetle will be discontinued. This step comes when the car market continues its march towards SUVs and crossovers.
- In 2017, the company sold about 15,000 beetles in the US, which fell significantly from more than 420,000 units sold at the peak of its popularity in the late 1960s.
- Volkswagen sold its most Beetles in the US in 1968, when it appeared as a racing car called "Herbie" in Disney's "The Love Bug."
Volkswagen will cease making its iconic Beetle after nearly seven decades on the market, the German car maker said on Thursday.
The first Beetles rolled back the production lines in 1938. Their growing popularity in the US in the 1960s prompted Volkswagen to build its first plant in North America to meet demand. It is expected that this plant located in the state of Puebla, Mexico, will make its last bug in July 2019.
This step goes as the market continues its transition to SUVs and crossovers.
"The loss of the beetle after three generations, for almost seven decades, will cause a lot of emotion among many loyal Beetle fans," Volkswagen's CEO in the US, Hinrich J. Wobaken, said in a statement.
Over the years, the beetle has become something of a cultural icon. This is perhaps most widely recognized for his role as a racing car called "Herbie" in Disney's 1968 film "The Love Bug". This year, Volkswagen sold about 423,000 Beetles in the US.
Volkswagen sold about 15,000 beetles in the US in 2017, which signaled its declining audience. Independent auto analyst, John Wolkonowicz told the Los Angeles Times The current Beetles mainly appealed to middle-aged women.
They "bought them, enjoyed them, and they for something else. Younger people do not know what's the matter, "he said.