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Chris Bryant

Small Cars Are Being Driven Out of Existence

The last VW Beetle rolled off the production line this week and the Up! and the Polo are under threat. The triumph of the SUVs is not great news.

Bye bye Beetle.

Bye bye Beetle.

Photographer: Hector Vivas/Getty Images South America

Car launches are 10-a-penny so it’s very rare that a particular model’s demise captures the world’s attention. The Volkswagen Beetle, the last of which rolled off the production line in Mexico this week, was no ordinary vehicle though.

The downfall of the “People’s Car,” an icon of post-war German prosperity as well as the 1960s counterculture, is all the more painful because of what’s replacing it. Bloomberg News reported this week that the Mexican plant is now gearing up to build – wait for it – a compact sports utility vehicle.