Volkswagen Beetle in Puerto Vallarta
love affair with the Volkswagen Beetle ended with
great fanfare in July of 2003, when the world’s
last Beetle production facility near Mexico City turned
out the final edition of this enduring automotive
see lots of Beetles in Puerto Vallarta, as they were
the only truly affordable car for the common family
in this country for nearly five decades.
1996, the last and only Beetle factory in the world
cranked out the durable little car for the Mexican
market…because it was the only place in the
world where sales still warranted it. The Beetle was
everywhere and served nearly every purpose. (Still,
in Mexico City, the majority of taxis are green Beetles;
usually the front passenger seat is removed to facilitate
easier entrance and exit for passengers.) You’ll
see Beetles in Puerto Vallarta with their tops chopped,
shortened Beetles (as if that was necessary, but it
does look cute), Beetles converted to mini-pick-ups
and dune buggies, and Beetles fitted with roof racks
for carrying lumber, pipe, or other building materials.
Mexicans knew they could depend on
the rugged little car, and spare parts were plentiful…to
this day, it is not uncommon to find fuel pumps and
other parts in the hardware section of the supermarket.
"Mexicans know the Beetle," says Volkswagen
spokesman Israel Victoria Diaz. "They know how
to fix it. They know they can find parts almost anywhere.
And they know they can depend on it when driving on
the country's rough road conditions." To this
day, it's still not uncommon to find fuel pumps and
other basic Beetle parts in the auto-care section
of the supermarket.
In the end, the demise of the lovable
car was caused by the arrival of a variety of small
and economical cars from Japan, plus the recent availability
of automotive financing for the masses. Still the
car has an enduring place in the heart of Mexico,
and souped-up Beetles (or “Vochos”, as
they are often called) still cruise the streets looking
as good as they did the day they left the factory.
Puerto Vallarta also hosts an annual Vocho Festival,
where Beetle owners from around the country come to
show off their shiniest, most-original or most-tricked-out