VW ends production of its iconic Kombi campervan
Production of the iconic Volkswagen (VW) "Kombi" campervan ground to a halt on Friday, as Brazil – the last country to make the vehicles – moves to implement stricter auto safety rules.
All might not be lost for fans of the 1960s icon, however, amid reports that Brazil's finance minister is looking to make an exception to the regulations for the "hippie van."
The Kombi has been produced in Brazil since 1957, making it the longest produced model in automotive history.
The final van will roll off the production line of VW's Anchieta plant in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, on Friday, as the company cannot meet the country's new safety standards.
Brazil is pushing to introduce tougher auto regulations in 2014, including the requirement that all vehicles must have air bags and antilock brakes (ABS) – features that VW said do not fit in the classic van.
Earlier this week, however, Reuters reported that Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega said he was looking at an exception to the rules for the Kombi.
Mantega said that as there was no room for an airbag or anti-lock brakes, the van may be the only model not required to carry the equipment, Reuters said.
The VW Kombi became popular with hippies during the 1960s and soon became a symbol of the decade. The vehicles have featured in numerous films over the years, and are pictured on Bob Dylan and Beach Boys record album covers.
Apple's founder Steve Jobs is even reported to have sold his VW camper in the 1970s to pay for a circuit board that went into one of his first computers.
To mark the end of production, VW produced a limited run of 600 special edition vans in white and blue, featuring "luxury internal finishings" and a commemorative plaque on the dashboard.