Dead (again): Volkswagen to axe 'the bug' from its line-up
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German automaker Volkswagen has announced that it will no longer produce the classic Volkswagen Beetle.
The company has said that it would end production of the iconic car in 2019, following a pair of final editions of the insect-inspired vehicles.
The chief executive of Volkswagen Group, Hinrich Woebcken said the move to axe the model comes as the brand begins to switch its focus to electric cars and larger family-friendly vehicles.
In a statement he said: 'The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle's many devoted fans'.
He also added that while there are 'no immediate plans' to replace the Beetle, that he could 'never say never'.
Even though the iconic car was first designed in the 1930s, mass production didn't take place until 1945.
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.
The idea of the Beetle was conceived in 1931, when Ferdinand Porsche and Zundapp developed the Porsche Type 12, or 'Auto fur Jedermann' (translated as 'Car for Everyone'.
In 1933 Nazi leader Adolf Hitler commissioned Porsche to develop a 'Peoples Car', with the specifics that the car would be able to seat two adults and two children, with room for their luggage, and be able to cruise at around 100km/h.
Hitler's plan for the Beetle had been that it would be affordable to everyone, and he therefore set about to introduce a form of part payment for people who wanted to own a car.
Consumers would purchase a 'Sparkarte' (a savings card) at a cost of 1 Reichsmark, the equivalent of about 30p.
After they purchased a Sparkarte, they were obliged to buy at least 5 Reichsmark of stamps per week, which worked out at roughly £1.35.
The model became widely known in its home country as the Käfer (German for Beetle) and was later marketed under that name in Germany. Whereas in France the model was also known as the Coccinelle, which is French for Ladybug.
The Beetle marked a significant trend, led by Volkswagen, Fiat and Renault, in which the rear-engine and the rear-wheel-drive layout increased from 2.6 percent of continental Western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26.6 percent in 1956.
Fast forward to the 1960s and Volkswagen started to bring significant changes to the model, including changes to the bodyshell.
All models would feature indicators built into the rear lights, and separate indicators on the front wings.
In 1975 the 1303 model was dropped, and Volkswagen reverted back to the traditional beam front suspension, and the swing axle at the rear.
From 1975 through until 1978, when the Beetle production line was finally closed, the car stayed virtually the same, save for a few colour options which had been introduced on the new Golf model.
Production of the Beetle moved to Puebla in Mexico. In 1996 Mexico became the last country to produce the old style Beetle.
- Daily Mail