New Beetle bows out in Mexico
The last New Beetle – the ‘retro’ successor of the legendary VW icon – has been produced on Wednesday in its Puebla factory in Mexico. The blue metallic car was the last of a special edition of 65 units to be sold on the internet for 21.000 dollars.
In September last year, Volkswagen announced the demise of the Beetle successor. The group, still trying to recover from the dieselgate scandal and its consequences, wants to concentrate on bigger and more practical family cars and electrification.
The final goodbye version counts 65 cars, for the 65 years the New Beetle and its legendary predecessor were built in the Puebla factory in Mexico. It started in 1964 because the original Beetle had become extremely popular across the Atlantic as well.
The New Beetle was a so-called retro model, a modern copy of the legendary Beetle, fitted with VW Golf technology. Since 1997, 1,7 million of them were produced, in 2 successive models. Especially the open version – the Beetle Cabriolet – showed reasonably successful until the end.
Built until 1978
The New Beetle could never meet the success of the original one, produced from 1938 until the 30th of July 2003 (also the last ones in Puebla) in more than 21,5 million units. In Europe, the original Beetle was built until 1978.
Although the VW Group has recently shown an electric version of the New Beetle as a concept, it is fairly unlikely that there will be a New Beetle again. The car was the symbol of ‘the coming of age’ of the car, but it has lost its popularity.
Pop art icon
In the sixties, the ‘hippie’ years of peace and love, the original Beetle became one of the true icons of the automotive industry because it was also embraced by the so-called counterculture. People who reacted against the ‘consumption society’ but also the Vietnam war were happy to be seen in a Beetle.
In North America, driving a Beetle also became a sign of protest, while in Middle and South America it became the first car for a lot of people. After it was overwhelmed in Europe by the even bigger success of the VW Golf, the Beetle had a second life in the Americas.
The original Beetle was famous for its reliability, its mechanical simplicity and is reasonable pricing. Customers forgave him its gluttony, its whimsical roadability, and its very discrete brakes.
The New Beetle was a far better car, but could never meet the popularity of its predecessor. Times had already changed. Its disappearance now is really the end of an era.