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Last Volkswagen Beetle drives into the sunset

Updated : 2019-07-11 10:15:20

Volkswagen rolled the last Beetle off the assembly line on Wednesday, the end of the road for a car that ran from Nazi Germany through hippie counterculture but failed to navigate a swerve in consumer tastes toward SUVs. Serenaded by a mariachi band and surrounded by proud factory workers, the final units of the retro, rounded compact were celebrated at a VW plant in Mexico's central Puebla state more than 80 years after the model was introduced in Germany. The Puebla factory, which already produces VW's Tiguan SUV, will make the Tarek SUV in place of the Beetle starting in late 2020, Volkswagen de Mexico Chief Executive Steffen Reiche said. The bigger vehicles are more popular in the United States, the main export market for the Mexico factory. The last Beetles will be sold on Amazon.com in a move symbolizing the company's embrace of the future, Reiche said. "Today is the last day. It has been very emotional," he said. The current design was the third version of the Beetle after two earlier cancellations and revivals of the marque. The "bug," as the Beetle was nicknamed, debuted in 1938 as an affordable vehicle commissioned by Adolf Hitler to promote car ownership among Germans.

Mariachis a Mexican musicians play music during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
Mariachis a Mexican musicians play music during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen logo is pictured in a production line at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer
FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen logo is pictured in a production line at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer
Employees take pictures of a Volkswagen Beetle car during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
Employees take pictures of a Volkswagen Beetle car during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
An employee looks at a Volkswagen Beetle car during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019.. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
An employee looks at a Volkswagen Beetle car during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019.. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
Employees pose for a picture next to a Volkswagen Beetle car during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
Employees pose for a picture next to a Volkswagen Beetle car during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
Employees pose for a picture next to a Volkswagen Beetle car during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
Employees pose for a picture next to a Volkswagen Beetle car during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
A Volkswagen Beetle car is displayed during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
A Volkswagen Beetle car is displayed during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
The logo of the Volkswagen is pictured during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
The logo of the Volkswagen is pictured during a ceremony marking the end of production of VW Beetle cars, at company's assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Imelda Medina
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