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Volkswagen pulling plug on the Beetle next year

By Ed Adamczyk
Volkswagen pulling plug on the Beetle next year
Volkswagen announced it will end production of its iconic Beetle, which was first produced in 1949. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Volkswagen is ending production of its iconic Beetle, the German automaker said.

Volkswagen of America made the announcement Thursday, saying two 184-horsepower models of what it called the Final Edition, a coupe and a convertible, will be offered in 2019. Prices will start at $23,045 and $25,995, respectively, in the United States.

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In various iterations, the distinctive car has been a part of the global driving environment since it was first imported from Germany in 1949. The Beetles have been made in Puebla, Mexico, since 1997 -- but only about 15,000 were sold in the United States last year as many customers switched preferences to sport-utility vehicles and other models.

Beetle sales accounted for only 5 percent of Volkswagen's 340,000 U.S. auto sales in 2017.

Volkswagen of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said the Volkswagen Bus, another iconic VW vehicle, recently returned to the lineup as an updated interpretation called the I.D. Buzz.

When asked if the Beetle will ever be resurrected, Woebcken said, "Never say never."

Several vehicles have made comebacks in popularity after their initial production ended, including the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Jeep Cherokee.

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The Puebla plant will shift to building other Volkswagen models.

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