Volkswagen to stop making iconic Beetle next summer

The 1968 Disney film

Rumors about the demise of the Volkswagen Beetle have been swirling around for months and it appears the automaker has inadvertently confirmed the news. Perhaps it can take another in its stride. Currently, the Beetle is still listed on VW's U.S. website in both its hard and soft top formats, although its sales previous year of just over 15,000 were a long way down on the 43,000 peak for the model back in 2013.

The Beetle's demise was announced in March but it was unclear at the time how long the stay of execution would last.

Porsche's factory at Fallersleben, now known as Wolfsburg, had scarcely turned out 200 before the outbreak of the Second World War. The beetle starred in a series of successful Disney films - starting with 1968′s The Love Bug - as a vehicle called Herbie, which comes to life.

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 auto production in 1946 to 26.6 percent in 1956.

The vehicle attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie The Love Bug, the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own.

Other available colors for the Final Edition Beetles include: Deep Black Pearl, Platinum Gray and Pure White.

Volkswagen revived it in the U.S.in 1998 as a more modern "New Beetle", but it attracted mainly female buyers.

VW's new special editions, which come in coupe and convertible body styles, get unique beige and blue colors in addition to the normal hues. Last year, VW delivered just 15,166 units - less than one-seventh the sales of the Jetta sedan.

The Beetle, also known as the Bug in some countries, was originally designed in 1930s Germany as a low-priced, rear-engine vehicle for the masses. Two decades after U.S. sales were discontinued, VW revamped the signature rounded body in a new form with the production of the "New Beetle", complete with built-in flower vase.

The Volkswagen Beetle came in a variety of colours.

"As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the USA and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it", said Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.

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