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Why Volkswagen discontinued the Beetle — its most famous car

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The rise and fall of the Volkswagen Beetle

July marked the end of an era for the Volkswagen Beetle, the small, quirky car that is easily one of the most important cars in automotive history.

The car, whose origins were in Nazi Germany, became a symbol of the 1960s counterculture and has been immortalized over and over in film.

Vintage Volkswagen Beetle cars
Manjunath Kiran | AFP | Getty Images

Volkswagen has made three versions of the Beetle, selling more than 22.5 million of them over the years. Among passenger cars, the Beetle trails only the Volkswagen Golf and the Toyota Corolla in popularity.

But now it's gone, as Volkswagen shifts its attention toward electrified vehicles and beefing up its inventory of the sport utility vehicles and crossovers customers are buying.

Volkswagen's last Beetle produced is seen during a ceremony to announce the cease of the production of the VW Beetle after 21 years in the market, at Volkswagen Plant on July 10, 2019 in Cuautlancingo, Mexico. Considered as the successor of the Volkswagen Type 1, the Beetle was produced during 21 years in the Cuautlancingo plant, it is estimated that over 17 millions of units were produced.
Hector Vivas | Getty Images