German dictator Adolf Hitler had hired the Auto Engineer Ferdinand Porsche to make the “People’s Car” that would expand automobile ownership and the car’s original design – a rounded silhouette with rounded headlights, a rear-mounted air-cooled engine and a near vertical windscreen, the Volkswagen Beetle became one of the most recognisable cars in the world with a history spanning over 80 years. Volkswagen has now stopped production of the last version of the Beetle at its plant in Puebla, Mexico.
In 1949, Volkswagen was relaunched as a civilian carmaker under supervision of the British occupation and handed over to the German Government. The one-millionth Type-1 Beetle rolled off the production line in 1955. The town which is now known as Wolfsburg ended production in 1978 as the newer front wheel drive models like the Golf took over.
Production was shifted to Mexico and the car was made for a longer period than in the German plant which dated from 1967 to 2003. The car was nicknamed “Vochito” in Mexico and car also adopted a rugged form and was often used to race in Baja desert. The green and white painted Type 1’s were also used for taxis known as “Vochos” in Mexico City, but authorities ended cab licenses in 2012.
In 1998, Ferdinand Porsche’s grandson Ferdinand Piech resurrected the old Beetle with a neo-retro design based on the Volkswagen Golf platform and in 2012 the Beetle was given an update with a sleeker design.
One of the most important markets for the Volkswagen Beetle is the United States where almost 40% of the production which translates to 5,63,522 units were sold in 1968. The car is said to be as easily recognised as the iconic Coca-Cola bottle and became an emblem of the Counterculture Era of the ‘60s.
To mark the end of production and an iconic figure which everyone would remember as the People’s Car, the Final Edition is headed for a museum in Pueblo on 10 July, 2019 after commemorations.