Things That Matter

The Mexican Factory That Built The Volkswagen Beetle Sent The Last Car Off With A Mariachi Band And Celebration

The last remaining factory in the world that produced Volkswagen Beetles ceased its production on Wednesday, July 11. The factory, located in Puebla, Mexico, sent off its last Beetle with a mariachi band and proud workers surrounding the vehicle, cheering it on to become the last and youngest model out there.

While the Beetle has been around for seven decades of societal change, critics don’t think VW was able to conform the model to meet consumer demands for SUVs. The factory will begin producing the Tarek SUV in 2020 in its place. In a move to mark the company’s embrace of the future, the very last Beetles will be sold on Amazon.com.

Puebla is done making the cars, but the vochos live on in spirit.

Credit: volkswagenmexico / Instagram

Puebla is just southeast of Mexico City, and while its top customer is the U.S., that’s because Mexicanos living in Cuautepec, also known as Vocholandia, are still driving the Type 1 model that ceased production in 2003. The town banned the use of vochos for taxis years ago but locals still know that vochos are the only way to taxi around town. The police rarely ticket the drivers.

For a car that has seeped into Mexican culture, a traditional Mariachi farewell felt appropriate.

Credit: volkswagenmexico / Instagram

As integrated “The Bug” is in popular culture–ranging from cartoon anthropomorphized talking cars to the hippie movement and arm-punching games, sales have slowed in recent years. Money talks louder, and Americans have spoken: no more Bugs. 

We’re also saying ‘thank you’ in Spanish.

Credit: volkswagenmexico / Instagram

It is kind of touching to know that the Beetles on the roads are likely fromMexico. Truly, gracias to all the workers who helped create a culture and counterculture around driving spunky cars that grew sunflowers.

Volkswagen de Mexico Chief Executive Steffen Reiche said, “Today is the last day. It has been very emotional.”

Credit: volkswagenmexico / Instagram

While the company might be grieving for the end of an era with the Beetle, it’s hopeful for the future. Before we take a look at the future, it’s important to recognize the history of the Beetle.

The first Volkswagen Beetle debuted in Germany in 1938 as part of Adolf Hitler’s push for car ownership.

Credit: volkswagenmexico / Instagram

Like Fanta, Volkswagen has an unfortunate history tied to Nazi Germany and the Third Reich. With the help of government promotion, Volkswagen’s Beetle sales soared and the chugged along German streets like ants in a line.

After World War II, Volkswagen released a newer, more colorful version that appealed to the hippie counterculture movement in the 1960s.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw4qy_KhwMn/

Credit: volkswagenmexico / Instagram

Through the 1950s, the Beetle was kind of a dud on the road. An influx of newer front-engined, luxury comfort cars started hitting the roads, but the Beetle never changed. Hippies loved that. It was understated, it advertised a “Live Below Your Means” mentality and the colors helped.

And, now, it’s all over. The Beetle will forever remain unchanged.

Credit: volkswagenmexico / Instagram

In 1986, VW announced the end of Beetle production in Brazil but restarted production in 1993. They ended it again in 1996, for real. Now, Mexico is the last remaining factory and it’s real this time. 

Vocholandia didn’t care for the modern version anyway.

@enelcoche / Twitter

The newer version doesn’t make it up to the hills as easily as the older version, according to the taxi drivers. If you ever miss the Bug too much, just visit Cuautepec.

Fans of The Bug have taken to Twitter to grieve the loss of their favorite car.

@jimenasalazarr / Twitter

The car may no longer be in production, but there are still many out on the road available for purchase. It just means that your options are fewer, mama.

Nostalgia is telling so many stories today, honey.

@Heidi9601 / Twitter

Try and find a Beetle owner who didn’t dream to own the car when they were a kid. They have so much personality and youth imbibed in the look, that you know every Beetle driver is just living out their dreams from childhood.

The saddest part of saying goodbye to the Beetle is knowing that this universal, cross-cultural, mildly violent bonding moment will be gone.

@depcow / Twitter

Alright, the feelings might be mixed depending on whether you were the vigilant observer or the kid just trying to chill in the car on the way home from school. You know who you are. #ByeByeBeetle.

READ: Mexico Is Selling Luxury Cars At A ‘Robin Hood’ Style Car Auction And Helping Fight Corruption

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Viva Mexico Is Trending On Twitter Proving That Mexico Is More Than Just A Country

Culture

Viva Mexico Is Trending On Twitter Proving That Mexico Is More Than Just A Country

Carlos Vivas / Getty Images

It is Mexico’s Independence Day and that means that Mexicans around the world are honoring their roots. Twitter is buzzing with people who might not be in Mexico but they will forever have Mexico in their hearts. Here are just a few of the loving messages from people who are Mexican through and through.

Viva Mexico is trending on social media and the tweets are filled with love and passion for the country.

Mexico received its independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 and since then the day has been marked with celebration. The day is marked with parties of pride and culture no matter where you are in the world.

Mexicans everywhere are letting their Mexican flag fly.

Tbh, who doesn’t want to be Mexican to enjoy the day of puro pinche pride? The celebration for Mexican Independence Day starts on Sept. 15 with El Grito. The tradition is that the president of Mexico stands on the balcony on Sept. 15 at 11 p.m. and rings the same church bell that Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang in 1810 to trigger the Mexican Revolution.

People are loving all of the celebrations for their homeland.

The original El Grito took place in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato in 1810. While most El Grito celebrations take place at the National Palace, some presidents, especially on their last year, celebrate El Grito in the town where it originated.

Honestly, no one celebrates their independence day like Mexico and we love them for it.

¡Viva Mexico! Mexico lindo y querido. How are you celebrating the Mexican Independence Day this year? Show us what you have planned.

READ: Many Mexicans Are Calling Out Fragile Masculinity As Some Continue To Protest A Controversial Zapata Painting

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Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Things That Matter

Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Just when you thought humanity has failed us, someone steps up and shows the world that the generosity of the human spirit is alive and well. 

Last week, a post on Reddit went viral of a group of volunteer firefighters from Guanajuato, Mexico who traveled to the city of Ashland, Oregon to help fight the wildfires that are blazing across the western state.

The fire department is called Heroico Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios, the Heroic Volunteer Fire Department, in English.

The two towns have had a “sister city” relationship for over 50 years. Sister-city relationships are meant to “promote peace and understanding through exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development”.

The internet swiftly erupted into comments praising the volunteer firefighters for their bravery and comradery. “Mexico also sent relief during Katrina. Mexico and Canada are our best allies, always there for us regardless of the politics,” one commenter said. Another chimed in: “Welcome to Oregon, amigos. Mantenga una bota en el quemado.”

The troop of men who traveled from Mexico to the United States were identified as Captain Aldo Iván Ruiz, Captain Juan Armando Alvarez Villegas, Sargent Jorge Luis Anguiano Jasso, Sargent Luis Alfonso Campos Martínez and Miguel Ángel Hernández Lara. They were accompanied by the mayor of Guanajuato, Alejandro Navarro.

“We began the relief work,” Navarro wrote on Twitter. “Very moved by the terrible impact of the fire on families and their homes.”

The Oregon wildfires are just one of the many that are blazing down the West Coast of the United States, taking people’s homes, land, and sometimes, their lives. In more than 1 million acres have burned and two dozen fires are still raging.

“Almost every year since becoming governor, I’ve witnessed historic fire seasons,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently said at a press conference. “Yet this is proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state.”

Experts are hypothesizing that these unprecedented fires are further evidence of the toll man-made climate change is having on the environment. 

via Getty Images

“I can’t think of any time over the last 100 years where we’ve had serial fire outbreaks, four years running,” said fire historian Stephen Pyne to the Washington Post. “That I can find no record of happening before,” he added. “That is the big switch; that is the phase change.”

Regardless of what has caused the fires, the bravery of these firefighters is worth commendable. Their actions are further proof that borders cannot contain the universal values of kindness, altruism, and brotherhood.

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