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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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Things That Matter

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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