On this day in auto history - July 30th

Fri 30th Jul 2021

It was on this day in 2003 that the last original Volkswagen Beetle rolled of an assembly line in Puebla Mexico, 65 years after the iconic vehicle’s launch.

The historic vehicle - the 21,529,464th of its type - was part of a 3,000 strong batch specially marketed as ‘Final Edition’ and was immediately shipped to stand on display at the company’s museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The Beetle’s concept and functional objective as a ‘people’s car’ was formulated by Nazi Germany’s leader Adolf Hitler who commissioned lead engineer Ferdinand Porsche to come up with the design.

Production of the vehicle boomed straight after World War II and by 1972 the VW Beetle had already smashed through the 15 million sales barrier and overtaken the Ford Model T as the best-selling vehicle of all-time.

Sales slowed during the 1970’s - particularly after VW introduced the Golf in 1974 to effectively compete in the same small family car segment - but it clung on long enough to become the first vehicle in history to achieve 20 million units sold.