FRANKFURT -- The original Volkswagen Beetle, the ubiquitous German car born in the Nazi drive for a "people's car" and later an icon of the hippie revolution, will roll off a production line for the last time this summer.
Europe's largest carmaker, Volkswagen, said on Friday the last of its factories still producing the bulky little car -- in Puebla, Mexico -- would close its assembly line after nearly 50 years.
In the model's 70-year history, 22 million air-cooled Beetles were produced at VW's factories worldwide. They were cheap and reliable, with the marketing slogan for years claiming "it will run and run and run."
Created in 1938 on the orders of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler who wanted to give every German family a vehicle, this first Volkswagen, or people's car, entered mass production only after World War II.
It quickly became the symbol of the German industrial miracle and a car of choice for the first post-war generation that rebelled in the United States and Western Europe against the tight social corset of the time.
The Beetle has enjoyed cult status since then but its relatively old technology meant sales began to fall in late 1970s.
VW replaced it with another hit, the Golf, and it recently also released a modern version of the Beetle -- this time loaded with all the newest technology but priced well above what could be considered appropriate for everyman's car.