The Decline and Fall of the Volkswagen Beetle

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Topics: Volkswagen
The Beetle-maker (1960’s) With reduced earnings, Volkswagen entered the first postwar recession in 1966/67, which ended an exceptional and unusually long phase of prosperity, heralding the return to normal economic conditions. The declining demand on the domestic market forced the company to reduce the number of vehicles manufactured in 1967: The production of the Beetle was cut by 14 percent and the VW 1500 was decreased The Golf did not kill Beetle production, which continued in smaller numbers at other German factories until 19 January 1978, when the main production shifted to Brazil and Mexico, markets where low operating cost was more important. The last Beetle was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in mid-2003. The last 3,000 Beetles were sold as 2004 models and badged as the Last edition, with whitewall tires, with unique characteristics and the choice of two special paint colors taken from the New Beetle. Production in Brazil ended in 1986, then started again in 1993 and continued until 1996. Volkswagen sold Beetle sedans in the United States until August 1977 (the Beetle convertible a.k.a. Cabriolet was sold until January 1980) and in Europe until 1985, with private companies continuing to import cars produced in Mexico even after production of the beetle had ended. The Beetle lasted longer than most other automobiles which had copied the rear air-cooled engine layout such as those by Subaru, Fiat, Renault, General Motors and Tatra)'s limousines, which ended production in 1999. By 2003 Beetle annual production had fallen to 30,000 from a peak of 1.3 million in 1971. On 30 July 2003, the final original VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) was produced at Puebla, Mexico, some 65 years after its original launch, since 1945, the year VW recognizes as the first year of non-Nazi funded production. VW announced this step in June, citing decreasing demand. The last car was immediately shipped off to the company's museum in Wolfsburg, Germany. In true Mexican fashion, a

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