Volkswagen AG is ending worldwide production of its iconic Beetle, the model once so popular in North America that it prompted the German automaker to build its first factory on the continent in the 1960s.
In 1937, Adolf Hitler who was heading the Nazi party formed a state-owned automobile company called Volkswagens which was later renamed to Volkswagenwerk or "The People's Car Company". VW's research and development head, Frank Welsch, in March said the new Microbus due in 2022 will serve as the automaker's retro-inspired model for the time being.
Before production ceases, the company will offer United States customers two special models - the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL - starting at roughly $23,000 (€19,670).
The models also draw inspiration from the first-generation Beetle's final run.
Beetle sales accounted for only 5 percent of Volkswagen's 340,000 USA auto sales in 2017.
The original idea for the Beetle was that it would be a "people's car", and would be affordable enough for people who didn't come from substantial wealth.
It went on to become popular among USA suburbanites in postwar America and later a symbol of the counterculture of the 1960s.
The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Editions is now available in the US.
The end of the Beetle comes at a turning point for Volkswagen.
The VW Beetle and the VW minibus became symbols of the small-is-beautiful aesthetic of many in the postwar baby boom and the crescent-shaped vehicle was revived with the "New Beetle" of the late 1990s, which offered a built-in flower vase.
The vehicle attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie The Love Bug, the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own. The classic beetle sold more than 21.5 million units in its lifetime.
In a statement announcing the end of the Beetle, Hinrich Woebcken, head of Volkswagen of America, said as the company ramped up its electrification strategy, there were no plans to replace the Beetle.
The vehicle first hit the U.S.in 1949.
"In this environment the business case for cars in general, and small cars in particular, becomes increasingly hard to justify", Bauer said.