Iconic Volkswagen Beetle to become latest victim of SUV craze

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VW revealed a Beetle Final Edition model on Thursday and announced that the 2019 model year will be the last for the nameplate. Though design work on the vehicle began in the 1930s, full-scale production started only after the end of the Second World War in 1945. Porsche designed the vehicle at the behest of Adolf Hitler but the Volkswagen auto didn't enter full production until after World War II.

With a starring role in Disney's 1968 movie The Love Bug, the distinctive vehicle became hugely popular around the world.

The original Beetle, billed as "The People's Car" because of its value price and sold in the US from 1950 to 1979, was created by Ferdinand Porsche and sparked a raft of imitators.

Herbie is never referred as a Volkswagen or a Beetle in the first firm but called "the little car" or "the Douglas Special". Actor Arshad Warsi also owns a Beetle.

Could the Beetle eventually find new life once again?

The company has not ruled out bringing the Beetle back in future but says it has no plans at this time.

The Jetta, Tiguan and Beetle are built for North America and other markets at a factory in Mexico.

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This isn't the first time Volkswagen has ceased US produciton of the Beetle.

Although officially out of production from next year, Hinrich Woebcken, VW's CEO in a statement said, "I would say, never say never", hinting that a futuristic model could be made available.

The Beetle, with roots dating back to 1938 in Germany, was revived and updated in 1998 with US sales of the modern Beetle peaking at 83,434 in 1999.

The company is not leaving behind all of its well-known older models. The cars also get three color ambient lighting; SE versions get cloth and leatherette rhombus-pattern seats with SEL offering standard diamond-stitched leather.

The 2019 Beetle Final Edition is available in coupe and convertible body styles and features exclusive equipment including premium touches in the cabin.

Despite the car's cultural credentials, sales have fallen in recent years, particularly in the key U.S. market, as consumers turn increasingly to larger cars and sports vehicles.

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