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Last VW Beetle leaves factory (Advanced)

The last of the original Volkswagen Beetle models has rolled off the assembly line.

The Volkswagen plant in Puebla, 65 miles southeast of Mexico City, was the last to produce the car.

The baby blue beetle was number 21,529,464.

Competition from newer small cars and a government decision to phase out two-door taxis finally forced it to end production.

The car was serenaded by a mariachi band playing "El Rey," or "The King." The car will be sent to a museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.

"You didn't just participate in the construction of a car, but in the creation of a legend," Reinhard Jung, president of the executive committee of Volkswagen Mexico, told workers and company executives at the ceremony marking the end of production.

The 300 employees working on the bug assembly line will be reassigned to other departments at the factory, which also produces Jettas and the new Beetle design.

Volkswagen produced 3,000 "last edition" bugs to be sold at Mexican dealerships for a few hundred dollars more than the normal price.

The design stays faithful to the original model with a few minor changes, including whitewall tires and a CD player.

© Associated Press

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Adapted by Chris Fry, August 2003 from Ananova © Associated Press 2003