Volkswagen to stop producing the Beetle next year

Two new special edition Beetles will be offered ahead of its send-off

Volkswagen to stop producing the Beetle next year

Past and present Beetle models | Image: Volkswagen

German car-maker Volkswagen is to stop production of its Beetle car in 2019.

The company says next year will be the last production year of the iconic vehicle.

However, two new special edition Beetles will be offered ahead of its send-off.

The Beetle Final Edition models will start in 2019 and continue for several months.

The Beetle Final Edition coupe and convertible will echo the beige and light blue colours chosen for the end of the first-generation Beetle production in 2003.

There are also shades of white, black and grey - while the convertible has an optional brown top.

The new Beetle Final Edition models | Image: Volkswagen

Beetles became a global phenomenon after managing to shake off their Nazi roots.

The car, originally known simply as Volkswagen, was first developed by Ferdinand Porsche.

The move was supported by Adolf Hitler, who in 1937 formed the state-run Volkswagenwerk, or "The People's Car Company".

After the Second World War, countries who defeated Nazi Germany made Volkswagen a priority in an effort to revive the country's auto industry.

They attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney film 'The Love Bug', which told the story of a racing car called Herbie with a mind of its own.

The Beetle in 1968 | Image: Volkswagen

Andy Warhol created prints featuring the Beetle, and the model was also the most prominent car in the background of The Beatles' final album 'Abbey Road'.

Hinrich Woebcken is president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.

He said: "The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle's many devoted fans.

"As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the US and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it."

"I would also say, 'Never say never.'

"We're excited to kick off a year of celebrating one of the true icons of the automotive world, with a series of events that will culminate in the end of production in Puebla in July 2019."

The new Beetle was introduced in 1997 | Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen continues to deal with fallout from the 'dieselgate' scandal that broke in September 2015.

The company, having already paid out costly government settlements, is fighting billions of dollars in additional claims lodged by shareholders who saw their stock plummet in value.

It came after authorities cracked down on Volkswagen over the installation of so-called 'defeat devices' into 11 million cars worldwide to fool regulatory emissions tests.

Additional reporting: IRN