New York (AFP) - Volkswagen announced Thursday it would end production of its iconic "Beetle" cars in 2019 after adding a pair of final editions of the insect-inspired vehicles.
The move comes as Volkswagen emphasizes electric autos and larger family-oriented vehicles, said Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America.
But Woebcken opened the door to reviving the model at some point, alluding to the company's 2017 decision to unveil a revamped Volkswagen Bus as a possible template.
"Never say never," he said in a statement.
Volkswagen plans to offer the two final edition models in both coupe and convertible styles. The cars will include nods to earlier versions and be priced at $23,045 and up, the company 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," Woebcken said.
The sedans made their US debut in the 1950s and were popularized with the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug."
US sales ceased in 1979, but the vehicle continued to be produced in Mexico and Brazil, according to Car and Driver. VW revived the "New Beetle" in the US 1997.
However, the vehicle's history goes back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler.