The "people's car" once had fans across the world but its popularity waned in face of competition from other models.

Beetle remained a popular car for decades.
Beetle remained a popular car for decades. (AP)

German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) stopped production of the iconic Beetle on Wednesday as the last vehicle rolled off an assembly line at a factory in Mexico. 

VW last year announced its plan to end production of Beetle as the company gears up for the era of electric car. 

Since then, it was making a version of the model called the Final Edition at a single factory in Mexico.

VW sold over 21 million Beetles over the years. 

The original VW Beetle, developed in the 1930s, made a journey from a product identified with Adolf Hitler to a symbol of Germany's rebirth as a democratic, industrial powerhouse after World War Two.

In the 1960s, the Beetle was a small-is-beautiful icon of the postwar baby boom generation. 

The sedans made their US debut in the 1950s, but sales were weak, in part owing to the company's Nazi origins.

The advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernback in 1959 rechristened the car the "Beetle," and began touting the vehicle's small size as an advantage to consumers, according to the History Channel.

The car attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug," the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own.

VW Beetle helped Germany's postwar rebirth as an industrial powerhouse.
VW Beetle helped Germany's postwar rebirth as an industrial powerhouse. (AP)

Andy Warhol did prints featuring the car and a Beetle featured prominently on the cover of "Abbey Road," the final Beatles album to be recorded.

Volkswagen discontinued US sales of the "bug" in 1979, but continued production for Mexico and Latin America.

In countries such as Pakistan, Beetle was affectionately called "the Foxy".

In the mid-1990s, at a time when Volkswagen was struggling to rekindle sales in the United States, then-Chief Executive Ferdinand Piech pushed to revive and modernise the distinctive Beetle design pioneered by his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche. 

The result was a crescent-shaped car called the "New Beetle," launched in 1998, which offered playful touches such as a built- in flower vase.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies