Ceremony Marks End of Third-Gen VW Beetle Production
The last of 5,921 Final Edition Beetles rolls off a Puebla, Mexico assembly line this week. VW will mark the occasion with a ceremony on Thursday, July 10. This end-of-an-era auto heads to a VW museum.
When VW launched the New Beetle in 1998, scores of people lined up to get their hands on the bubbly-looking revival of VW’s signature auto. Its U.S. sales peaked at more than 80,000 units and gradually tapered off. This isn’t what VW meant when it said, “Think Small.”
For 2012, VW replaced New Bug with a sleeker longer, lower and wider Beetle. The base five-cylinder model’s mediocre performance didn’t match the looks. VW later offered a hotter turbocharged mill or the now besmirched diesel. Either version enjoyed better steering, an independent rear suspension and a six-speed manual transmission.
Nice try. In the end, VW ditched the hot Bug. Ultimately, the Beetle shared the same fate as Fiat’s 500 and the Mini—slow sales. VW says ending the Bug’s production makes room for a yet-to-be-introduced compact crossover.