Vw starts production of the new Beetle in Mexico image

Volkswagen Ag. has officially started production of the new Beetle in Puebla, Mexico.

The latest generation, the design of which was unveiled in April, has a flatter roof, a less bulbous shape, narrowed windows and a crease along the side — and no flower vase near the steering wheel.

To mark the occasion, Germany’s Federal Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and Board Member for Production and Logistics at VW Passenger Cars Hubert Waltl visited the plant in Puebla.

“The Beetle is a strong symbol of our brand. It combines the emotional heritage of the original Beetle with the future of Volkswagen,” said Hubert Waltl .

The company said Friday it hopes to be producing 100,000 Beetles annually at the Puebla plant by next year, with about 90 percent destined for export. The new model is expected to be in dealers’ showrooms this fall.

Initially, the Beetle will be available in the United States with a 170-hp, 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine, and a 200-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Pricing starts at $19,765 for the base model and $24,165 for the turbo. The prices include shipping.

The Puebla plant is the largest automobile factory in Mexico and one of the Volkswagen Group’s biggest vehicle manufacturing plants. It supplies North and South America as well as Europe with the new Jetta volume model.