Volkswagen to end production of the Beetle next year

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(Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) said on Thursday it would stop producing its Beetle compact car in 2019, ending a model that looked backward to the 1960s counterculture as the automaker prepares for a leap toward a future of mass-market electric cars.

The original VW Beetle, developed in the 1930s, made a journey from a product identified with Adolf Hitler to a symbol of Germany’s rebirth as a democratic, industrial powerhouse after World War Two. In the 1960s, the Beetle was a small-is-beautiful icon of the postwar baby boom generation. Volkswagen discontinued U.S. sales of the “bug” in 1979, but continued production for Mexico and Latin America.

In the mid-1990s, at a time when Volkswagen was struggling to rekindle sales in the United States, then-Chief Executive Ferdinand Piech pushed to revive and modernize the distinctive Beetle design pioneered by his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche. The result was a crescent-shaped car called the “New Beetle,” launched…



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