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Volkswagen to stop producing Beetle next summer

Volkswagen said it has no immediate plans to revive the Beetle again. Credit: AP

Volkswagen has decided to end production of its famous Beetle.

The company’s American unit announced on Thursday that it would end global production of the third-generation bulbous bug in July next year after offering two special editions for sale.

The compact Beetle was introduced in Germany in 1938 during the Nazi era and came to the US 11 years later, where it became a symbol of utilitarian transportation often used by hippies.

The famous car sold for about 30 years before US sales stopped in 1979.

The last of the original bugs was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in 2003.

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Volkswagen revived it in the US in 1998 as a more modern “New Beetle”, but it attracted mainly female buyers.

The company revamped it for the 2012 model year in an effort to make it appeal to men, giving it a flatter roof, less bulbous shape, a bigger trunk and a navigation system.

US sales rose five-fold to nearly 29,000 in the first year, but tailed off after that.

Last year VW sold only 8,627, according to Autodata Corp.

The special editions, which come in coupe and convertible body styles, get unique beige and blue colours in addition to the normal hues.

They also get standard extra chrome, new wheels and three-colour ambient lighting inside.

Volkswagen said it has no immediate plans to revive the Beetle again, but the company would not rule it out.

“I would say ‘never say never’,” Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America, said in a statement.

The company plans to roll out an electric version of the old Bus in 2022 called the ID Buzz.