The last bugs that Volkswagen produced rolled off the assembly line in Puebla, Mexico, on July 10th. The freed-up factory space in Mexico would be used to produce a new SUV intended for the North American market, the company said in a news release.
The Beetle was originally designed in the 1930s by legendary engineer Ferdinand Porsche at the behest of Adolf Hitler, who wanted to see a cheap and practical mass-produced car made available to the German people. But the outbreak of World War II stalled its production, as military necessity took precedence. After the war, though, the factory was restarted by the British military and production of Volkswagen cars began to take off.
The design found international fame in the 1960s and 1970s in the Disney film featuring Herbie, the Love Bug, a racing car with a mind of its own. Beetle soon became a worldwide icon for its small, practical, but aesthetic qualities.
But sales, particularly in the key US market, have fallen in recent years. Consumers in the US have increasingly turned to larger cars such as crossovers and SUVs. Volkswagen, in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal and huge investment in electric vehicles, says it will look to slim down its model range with a greater focus on family and electric cars.
"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle," Volkswagen of America president and CEO Scott Keogh said in a statement. "From its first import in 1949 to today's retro-inspired design, it has showcased our company's ability to fit round pegs into square holes of the automotive industry. While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished."
The final Beetle to roll off the assembly line will be displayed at a Volkswagen museum in Puebla, the company said.
at the behest of sb. 应某人要求
precedence n. 优先；优先权
aesthetic adj. 审美的；美学的