Other countries produced Beetles from CKD (complete knockdown kits): Ireland, Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa, Australia, and Nigeria have assembled Beetles under license from VW.
Beetles produced in Mexico and Brazil had several differences:
* Brazilian production started in 1950 with parts imported from Germany. In 1959 the cars were 100% made in Brazil. The car was made until 1986. In 1993 production started again but only continued till 1996. The Brazilian version retained the 1958-1964 body style (Europe and U.S. version) with the thick door pillars and small quarter glass; this body style was also produced in Mexico until 1971. Around 1973, Brazilian Beetles were updated with the 1968+ sheetmetal, bumpers, and 4-lug rims; although the 5-stud rims and “bugeye” headlights were produced as late as 1972 (the base VW 1200 was similar to the 1964 European/U.S. 1200). Brazilian CKD kits (complete knock down) were shipped to Nigeria between 1975-1987 where Beetles were locally produced. The Brazilian-produced versions have been sold in neighboring South American nations bordering Brazil, including Argentina and Peru.
* The Brazilian VW Bug have four different sized engines: 1200 cc, 1300 cc, 1500 cc, and, finally, 1600 cc. In the 1970s, Volkswagen made the SP-2 (derived from the VW Beetle chassis and powertrain) that used an air-cooled 1700cc VW engine that was a regular 1600cc engine with its engine displacement increased by the usage of large diameter cylinders. In Brazil the VW Bug never received electronic fuel injection (the air-cooled flat four engine from the Beetle received this, but to equip solely the VW Kombi later models), but, instead, retained single or double-single carburetion throughout its entire life, although the carburetion specs differs from engines of different years and specs.
* The production of the air-cooled engine finally ended in 2006, after more than 60 years. It was last used in the Brazilian version of the VW Bus, called the “Kombi”, and was replaced by a 1.4-liter water-cooled engine with a front-mounted cooling system.
* Beetles produced in Mexico (since 1964) have the larger windshield, rear window, door and quarter glass between 1971-2003; and the rear window from the 1965-71 German built models was used on the Mexican models from 1971 to 1985, when it was replaced with the larger rear window used on 1972 and later German built Beetles. This version, after the mid-1970s, saw little change with the incorporation of electronic ignition in 1988, an anti-theft alarm system in 1990, a catalytic converter in 1991, as well as electronic fuel injection, hydraulic valve lifters, and a spin-on oil filter in 1993. The front turn signals were located in the bumper instead of the Beetle’s traditional placement on top of the front fenders from the mid 1970s on, as they had been on German Beetles sold in Europe of the same time period.
Independent importers continued to supply several major countries, including Germany, France, and the UK until the end of production in 2003. Devoted fans of the car even discovered a way to circumvent United States safety regulations by placing more recently manufactured Mexican Beetles on the floorpans of earlier, US-registered cars. The Mexican Beetle (along with its Brazilian counterpart) was on the US DOT’s (Department of Transportation) hot list of gray market imports after 1978 as the vehicle did not meet safety regulations. A U.S. citizen who drives a Mexican Beetle across the US-Mexico border into the US is likely to end up with the vehicle seized by the US government.
In the Southwest United States (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas), Mexican Beetles (and some Brazilian T2c Transporters) are a fairly common sight since Mexican nationals can legally operate the vehicle in the United States, provided the cars remain registered in Mexico.
The end of production in Mexico can be attributed primarily to Mexican political measures: the Beetles no longer met emissions standards for Mexico City, in which the ubiquitous Beetles were used as taxicabs; and the government outlawed their use as taxicabs because of rising crime rates, requiring only four-door vehicles be used. . In addition, Volkswagen (now Germany’s largest automaker) has been attempting to cultivate a more upscale, premium brand image, and the humble Beetle, with its US$7000 base price, clashed with this identity, as seen in the Touareg and Phaeton luxury vehicles. Finally, consumers had begun showing a preference for more modern cars such as the Volkswagen Pointer and Volkswagen Lupo.