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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.