Last Volkswagen Beetle Goes to Pope

VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2004 ( The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Mexico has been given to John Paul II.

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The car, one of a limited series of 3,000, was given to the Pope today at the end of the general audience by Luis Manuel Abella Armella, president of the Mexican Volkswagen concession. He was accompanied by a delegation of workers of the Puebla plant, where the car was made.

John Paul II blessed the car and the delegation when he returned to the Apostolic Palace after the general audience, Vatican sources said.

The gift was in gratitude for the Holy Father’s visit to Mexico in 2002, when he canonized Juan Diego, the Volkswagen employees explained.

The light blue Beetle, which will have a Vatican City license plate (its initials are SCV), is the last in this series of cars whose origins date back to the 1930s. Some 21 million «bugs» have been produced over the years.

Their production stopped in Europe in 1978, but continued in Mexico until last July 30.

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