VOLKSWAGEN launched the final edition of its iconic "Beetle" car from its Mexican factory in Puebla yesterday.
The bug-shaped metallic blue saloon rolled off the production line in central Mexico to rapturous applause, the last of a model first manufactured in the late 1930s.
The last 65 models of the "Beetle Final Edition" will be sold in Mexico on the internet for a base price of $21,000 (RM85,000), and can be reserved with a $1,000 (RM4,050) payment.
Each vehicle includes a commemorative plaque on its left side, numbered from 1-65.
As well as metallic blue, it will be available in black, white and beige.
Dozens of factory workers had turned up from early morning to put the final touches on the car, which was unveiled after seven hours of work.
The employees wore bright yellow coats bearing the words “Gracias, Beetle” (Thanks, Beetle), as the unveiling proceeded in a festive atmosphere tinged with nostalgia for a car that has generated a loyal following like almost no other.
The vehicle's history goes back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler, who in 1937 formed the state-run Volkswagenwerk, or "The People's Car Company."
After the war, the Allied countries eventually made Volkswagen a priority in an effort to revive the German auto industry.
The advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1959 rechristened the car the "Beetle," and began touting the vehicle's small size as an advantage to consumers, according to the History Channel.
The car attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie The Love Bug, the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own.
Andy Warhol did prints featuring the car and a Beetle featured prominently on the cover of "Abbey Road," the final album to be recorded by legendary British band the Beatles. – AFP Relaxnews*Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) will hold a “Bye Bye Beetle” party for the media this evening, as a run-up to the “Beetle: An Iconic Gathering” event this Saturday.
The event, which welcomes Beetle owners from all walks of life in celebration of the cult classic, will be held at the open-air carpark at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya.
VPCM will be attempting to break the current Malaysian record of the largest Beetle gathered at one location during the event and is calling out to all owners of the classic and current Beetle to join in the effort.
The celebration will kick-off with a 150-strong Beetle “Sunshine Tour” convoy that will be flagged off in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
The convoy will be making its way through the streets of the Golden Triangle before proceeding to Putrajaya where it will join the other Beetle cars at the Palace of Justice.
The “Beetle: An Iconic Gathering” is open to all Beetle owners in Malaysia and interested participants can register and their cars on the Volkswagen website at https://bit.ly/2X2poH7 .
Participation is free, and details of the event are provided during the online registration. All participants will also receive a certificate of participation from Volkswagen.
VPCM managing director Erik Winter said: “Volkswagen ends production of the much-loved Beetle this year, and we want to give this global bestseller the send-off it deserves by celebrating its legacy.
“We would like to invite owners and Beetle enthusiasts to the gathering to help us break the record and celebrate the world’s favourite Bug.
“This is a great opportunity for Beetle enthusiasts to admire classic and current Beetle models in all its incarnations, and with many of them personalised to match their owners’ colourful personalities.”
Designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1938, the Beetle is considered by many to be the original automotive icon. It has enjoyed more than 80 years of success with over 21.5 million units sold globally.
For more information on the Beetle visit www.volkswagen.com.my/beetle/byebyebeetle , or click https://bit.ly/2X2poH7 to register your participation.