Volkswagen halts production of iconic Beetle follow decreased demand for small cars

It’s the end of the road for the iconic Volkswagen Beetle after the automaker halts production of the model this week.

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The German automaker was ceasing production of its Beetle at its manufacturing plant in Puebla, Mexico. The last of the 5,961 Final Edition versions will roll off the assembly line Wednesday, NPR reported, and head to a museum after ceremonies in the city to mark the end of an era.

Volkswagen is halting production of the last version of its Beetle model in July 2019 at its plant in Puebla, Mexico. (AP)

Last year, Volkswagen announced it would stop making the ladybug-shaped vehicle in wake of decreased industry demand for compact vehicles. The company said it had no plans to replace the iconic car. The Final Edition models will be offered in a convertible model as well.

The car company's roots trace back to the 1930s after Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche, was hired to fulfill Adolf Hitler’s project for a “people’s car.” In the 1960s, the car became the decade’s icon. The vehicle was discontinued in the U.S. in 1979 but production went on in Mexico until 2003.

The car was featured in a number of films and was even the star of a few movies, including "Herbie Fully Loaded" and "The Love Bug."

In this Aug. 23, 1954 file photo, four female employees tend to a Volkswagen at a gas station in Deidesheim, near Kaiserslautern, Germany. (AP)

The New Beetle, a completely retro version build on a modified Golf platform, was launched in 1998. The car was popular in the U.S. and sold more than 80,000 vehicles in 1999, according to Reuters.

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However, the end of the Beetle comes at a turning point for Volkswagen as it rebounds from a scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests. The company is gearing up for mass production of the battery-driven compact ID.3, a car that the company predicts will have an impact like that of the Beetle and the Golf by bringing electric mobility to a mass market.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.