The latest Volkswagen Beetle left the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico this week.
There was no shortage of anxiety in the plant and Farewell on Twitter July 11, while admirers went to see the extinct ladybug. "Although its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will always be cherished," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America, describing the car as "foot round "in the automotive industry. "It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Ladybug."
Now that he is in great trouble, it is time to pay tribute to the beetle's bequest.
Born in Germany, defined by America
The Ladybug was born in Germany in 1938 under modest circumstances. It was a humble two-door economy car without any trace of its future fame. The engine mounted at the rear of 25 horsepower could only reach a maximum speed of about 100 km / h (62 mph). Instead of giving him a name, Volkswagen simply gave him the "Type 1" designation.
He arrived at a dark moment in history. The parents of the car embodied the tragic descent of Germany into the war and the genocide. The Nazi leader Adolf Hitler first formulated the concept of the ladybug as "the people's car" (in German, Volkswagen), a simple, cheap and mass-produced means of transportation for the nation. It was VW's engineering, Ferdinand Porsche, that gave birth to the iconic shape of the Ladybug and its simple reliability that finally captured the hearts of millions of people.
The Ladybug almost died there, an ignominious victim of the war. Few future beetles were produced during the war as Volkswagen manufactured light military vehicles. Once the Allies occupied Germany, the VW factory and its eponymous cars had to be dismantled and shipped abroad. Ford even offered it for free. But nobody wanted it. "The vehicle does not meet the basic technical requirement of a car," said a British official report. "It's unattractive to the average shopper. … Building the car in the trade would be a totally unprofitable business. "
As the allies' feeling evolved towards rebuilding a pacified Germany, the British army intervened to command 20,000 of these cars by 1946. Three years later, the first exports were built. In 1951, the brave newcomer traveled 29 countries. Despite his Teutonic nickname, Type 1 quickly adopted his mischievous nicknames. In France, we have renamed the Ladybug (ladybug). But in America it was just the Bug.
US fans, from hippies to housewives, bought the car: 5 million were sold in the United States and 21.5 million worldwide in the decades – the oldest car on a single platform. Having won the public's affection, the Ladybug has spawned a whole range of motor vehicles back from the 1950's "Type 2" bus, the hippies' favorite ride during the summer of love. , to family cars in the late 1960s.
As her mature age approaches, the beloved car has opted for a makeover of the aging lines. In 1998, the Bug proclaimed New Beetle, revealing a new look "retro modern". It was a success among Millennials and Boomers. More than 1.2 million cars with updated design have been sold over the next decade. Always eager to please the crowd, the Bug unveiled its third and last makeover in 2011, generating over 500,000 additional sales.
However, a Bug that sweeps through all the streets of the world is identifiable at all times. Its silhouette has hardly changed in 80 years, although its exterior and interior have evolved to suit the changing tastes of each era. He garnered praise along the way. In 1968, he played in the 1968 film The love bug, fueling its fame, followed by related movies. In 1999, she was voted "Car of the Year" by Motor Trend. The same year, the Beetle won the fourth place of the Beetle after the Ford Model T, Mini and Citroën DS19. Nazi past.
Even though the ladybug has kept its original silhouette, she was not afraid to slip away. Over the years, it has been spotted in 23 different exterior colors, 32 interior trim and 13 different engine configurations. No less than 19 special editions swept the sidewalk, including Dune, Denim, Coast and #PinkBeetle.
The Ladybug was German from start to finish, but she chose to spend her beautiful days nearing retirement in Puebla (average 72 ° F /22 ° C in winter) in one of the largest Volkswagen factories in the country, where all recent models have been manufactured.
The supporters gathered this week at the VW plant in Puebla to send the Bug to the big world. A group of five Mariachi musicians were present to pay tribute. Steffen Reiche, president and CEO of Volkswagen Mexico City, was almost defeated. "Today is the last day," he said. "It was very moving."
The Golf, the popular popular compact car from VW, and the Tiguan SUV, which will be produced in its former factory in Mexico for the North American market, will save its life.
The latest Bug, a coupe clad in a brilliant coat of blue denim paint, was dropped off an open-air display so visitors could pay him a last tribute, according to family members at the hotel. ;factory. Its last resting place is the Volkswagen Museum in Puebla.