Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition

The VW Beetle has been dropped from production before and could yet make a comeback

The German company said it would close the doors on the plant in Pueblo, Mexico, where the last of the original bugs were made in 2003.

VW's plans to shelve the auto come as the American branch of the carmaker turns its focus to mass-market electric vehicles and larger family-oriented cars.

VW is under pressure from investors to bolster its profitability under new CEO Herbert Diess. Demand for the Beetle and VW hatchbacks such as the Golf also has come under pressure as consumers increasingly migrate to crossovers and SUVs.

They "bought them, enjoyed them, and they're on to something else. Younger people don't know what the point is". The vehicle was also immortalized in films, including the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug" featuring the Beetle Herbie, and was featured in Andy Warhol's colorful graphic prints. Throughout the franchise, Herbie is seen with red, white and blue racing stripes from front to back bumper.

Camera IconThe 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Dune aimed to appeal to male buyers. Among its fans is Hollywood actor Chris Pratt, who took almost 12 years to restore a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle, in 2016.

Frank Welsch, Volkswagen R&D boss, previous year told Autocar you can't have a "new, new, new Beetle" and, instead, "two or three generations is enough now".

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It was also popular with the 1960s counter-culture types who extolled the Beetle's small, practical, but aesthetic qualities. "Most baby boomers are getting older and need something easy to get in and out of".

Prices for the Final Edition Beetle, which will be available as either a coupe or convertible, will range from $23,045 to $29,995.

In the short term, the ID Buzz electric microbus will carry the torch as VW's heritage-inspired model, but the temptation to revive the Beetle name for a future electric, retro-inspired vehicle of some sort is likely to be irresistible.

"The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over almost seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle's many devoted fans", Mr Woebcken said.

Volkswagen confirmed Thursday that it will end production of the Beetle in 2019, though it hinted that the vehicle could one day be revived.

"Never say never", Woebcken said.

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