Mexican iconic VW Beetle will no longer be in production
The production of the VW Beetle came to a halt at an assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico, in July 2019. This plant was the last in the world still manufacturing this iconic car, affectionately known as the ‘vocho’ among Mexicans.
The Volkswagen Beetle will no longer be in production, but it will forever remain a favorite among Mexican drivers.
The modern version of this iconic VW model ceased production on a memorable Wednesday at the automaker’s Puebla factory. Workers bid farewell to the last of these distinctive, rear-engine vehicles during a special celebration.
This marked the end of an era for a car that has symbolized various aspects of culture for over eight decades.
However, in Cuautepec, a town on the outskirts of Mexico City, residents still rely on the original, no-frills version of the Beetle. They appreciate its affordability, ease of repair, and, most importantly, its ability to navigate the district’s steep streets.
High above the valley floor, where the infamous smog often shrouds the surrounding hills, these older compact Beetles are commonly used as informal taxis. This is especially important in an area with limited public transportation.
The distinctive rear-engine vehicles, often referred to as ‘vochos,’ are a common sight in Cuautepec. They have become an obsession for some, especially after production of the Type 1 model ceased in 2003 and the New Beetle failed to impress the locals.
Taxi drivers in the area praise the original Beetles, saying, “The new ones struggle on uphill roads, but the old ones can tackle any incline without a problem.”
The car’s original design, characterized by its rounded silhouette, seating for four or five passengers, a nearly vertical windshield, and an air-cooled rear engine, can be traced back to Ferdinand Porsche.
The Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche was personally chosen by Adolf Hitler to realize his vision of a ‘people’s car’ that would make car ownership as accessible as the Ford Model T did in the United States.
The Beetle made its debut in 1938, just before World War II erupted.
After the war, British Army Major Ivan Hirst played a pivotal role in restarting the production of this car. One day, he spotted a Beetle that had survived the massive airstrikes at the facility. From that moment on, it became a favorite among American car consumers.
For Mexico, the end of Beetle production marks the closing of a significant chapter. The VW factory in Puebla was the last remaining plant in the world that produced classic Beetles. In recent years, it also became the sole producer of modern Beetles.
While green-and-white Type 1 Beetle used to dominate the taxi industry in Mexico City, authorities discontinued taxi licenses for the ‘vochos’ in 2012. This means that those who continue to operate older models are doing so illegally.
However, local law enforcement often turns a blind eye and rarely bothers the drivers. These cars remain in high demand among Mexican residents who grew up when VW taxis were a common sight everywhere.
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