Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Vanishing VW - Nuisance or Icon?

The Mexican Government has recently announced plans to rid DF streets of cars more than 10 years old by the year 2012 for environment and safety reasons - including "el vocho" more commonly known as the VW Beetle. Only offering 19 miles to the gallon compared to 34 miles in more modern fuel efficient taxis, the green and white symbol of Mexico City was recently described as a "nuisance" by Victor Ramirez of the Transport Ministry. The City is currently offering taxi drivers 15, 000 pesos ($1500) to turn their "vochos" into scrap, citing popularity with kidnappers, due to the lack of a front seat, as another reason to bid good riddance.

Vw Beetles made their debut on DF streets in 1938, and were in production at the plant in Puebla up until July 30th 2003. There are about 80, 000 currently on the city streets which is the third highest number after Germany and Brazil, but for how much longer will they be such a common sight? Subscribers to the magazine "Vochomania" which features "Vocho del Mes" ( Beetle of the Month ) may well not be the only ones to lament their demise.

Will the streets of DF be a very different place without them? Is it good riddance to a dangerous, polluting nuisance? Or the sad loss of a valued symbolic icon?


Angela Riviere said...

Having been a proud owner of an original VW Beetle when I first arrived in DF, it was a cherished possession and gave me somewhat of an iconic status with friends back in the UK, who had always thought how cool it would be to own one. I sure that one of those few remaining VW's still weaving the streets of the Zona Rosa is mine! Stolen from under my nose, painted green and white and stripped of it's front seat...........and so, will I be sorry to see them leave the streets of Mexico City, for the safer, more comfortable, modern (has a stereo and seat belts in the back) chevy...........yes and no. The VW Beetle is a great landmark to see but I would not want to ride in one!!!!

Catherine said...

thanks for being the first person to comment... now get back to those reading lists!!