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VW ends production of iconic Beetle, sends last car to museum

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Published in Automotive News

The last Volkswagen Beetle has left the assembly line at a factory in Puebla, Mexico where the iconic car has been built for nearly 40 years, Volkswagen said Wednesday.

The German carmaker held a ceremony to mark the end of the line for the Beetle, a car that earned a spot in U.S. popular culture thanks to its unique shape and devoted fans, who loved its air-cooled rear engine, its reputation for indestructibility and its celebrity status following series of Hollywood films starring Herbie the Love Bug.

"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle," Scott Keogh, president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America, said in a news release. "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished."

The Beetle, affectionately called the "Bug" in the U.S., was first imported to the North American market from Germany in 1949. Nearly 5 million were sold in the United States, representing about one-quarter of the 21.5 million sold worldwide, Volkswagen said.

Volkswagen in the late 1990s introduced a redesigned Beetle to a new generation of drivers and sold more than 1.2 million cars through 2010. The third, and current generation of Beetle came out in 2011.

All Beetles produced since the first redesign have been built at the plant in Puebla and shipped worldwide.

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The final car produced -- a denim blue coupe -- will remain at Volkswagen's museum in Puebla. The plant soon will begin making a compact sports utility vehicle designed for the North American market.

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