Goodbye, 'Love Bug': the Volkswagen Beetle is going extinct

The last of the design classic rolls off production lines.

    The Volkswagen Beetle has been popular for decades [Fabian Bimmer/Reuters]
    The Volkswagen Beetle has been popular for decades [Fabian Bimmer/Reuters]

    There aren't many things beloved both by hippies and Nazis. A self-important belief in the righteousness of one's cause, perhaps? The other would be the Volkswagen Beetle.

    The original "people's wagon" - designed by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s on the orders of Adolf Hitler - survived its associations with the Third Reich in the years after World War II to become a counterculture classic.

    United States production of Porsche's original design finished in the 1970s. By the time manufacture of that first model wrapped up in Mexico in 2003, more than 21 million Beetles had spread around the world.

    The car was given a new lease on life with revamped models in 1998 and 2011.

    But after 80 years, the final "Love Bug" rolled off the production line in Puebla, Mexico on Wednesday. Following a ceremony at a factory there, it will rest forever, interred in a museum close to Puebla, where the last of the vehicles were built.

    Volkswagon will use the freed-up factory space to build a new SUV, the company said.

    Manuel Rapalo reports from Mexico City on the end of the Beetle

    "It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle," Volkswagen CEO Scott Keogh said in a statement.

    "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished."

    The "Final Edition" Beetle series is still available for purchase in the US, reports CNN, with base prices of $23,045 for a coupe and $27,295 for a convertible.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies