Why are VW bugs built so well

Volkswagen: Farewell in Mexico: last VW Beetle built

The cult car Beetle has not been built for 16 years - and now its successor, the VW Beetle, is over. The last newly built copy rolled off the assembly line at the Volkswagen plant in the Mexican state of Puebla on Wednesday. There the cessation of production was celebrated with a celebration. "With the Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen de México closes a very important and successful chapter in its history," announced the subsidiary of the Wolfsburg-based group.

"Gracias, Beetle"

Mexican VW employees said goodbye to the model with yellow T-shirts that read "Gracias, Beetle" or "#ByeBye Beetle". A mariachi band sang the Mexican classic "Cielito Lindo" while the last new Beetle in the color "stonewash blue" was driven through a rain of confetti in a hall of the plant in Puebla. The car is to be exhibited in a museum.

Last year, Volkswagen announced a "Final Edition" of the Beetle and the subsequent production stop. The US subsidiary of the group said at the time that it was transforming itself into a family-oriented car manufacturer and was driving the development of electric cars. Therefore, there are no plans to replace the Beetle. "Never say never," said the then head of Volkswagen of America, Hinrich Woebcken.

The Beetle had been built in Puebla since 1997. At first it sold well in the USA, but in its various versions never came close to the popularity of the original VW Beetle. The two-door, which was visually reminiscent of the original, but had the engine in the front instead of in the rear, was sold around 1.7 million times according to the company. The VW Tiguan, Jetta, Golf and Golf Variant models will continue to be manufactured in Puebla. The Beetle was built there for almost 40 years.

The beetle was a symbol of the German economic miracle

It was a cult car of the 20th century and also a symbol of the German economic miracle. The sturdy car with the air-cooled boxer engine in the rear found friends all over the world. As "Herbie" he even became a movie star. The Beetle was sold in Germany until 1985, but was imported from Mexico for a long time because of its popularity. It was not until 2003 that production was finally stopped there. A total of 21.5 million Beetles rolled off the production line over the decades.

The cult car is still extremely popular in Mexico. Beetle taxis have dominated the streets of Mexico City for decades. The last licenses for the "Vocho" expired in 2012. In the hills high above the capital of the Latin American neighbor of the USA, the classic Beetle still dominates the streets. The taxi drivers there prefer it to newer cars because it handles the steep streets better.

Mexico is an attractive production location for German car manufacturers because of its low wages, a relatively well-trained workforce and a solid infrastructure. The VW plant in Puebla is one of the largest in the world. Around 900,000 people are employed in the automotive industry in Mexico. (dpa)