Keeping the Beetle Alive: How a Neighborhood in Mexico City Upholds the Legendary Volkswagen Legacy


  • Mexico City neighborhood celebrates Volkswagen Beetle heritage
  • The Beetle is an iconic automotive icon
  • The neighborhood is a gathering place for Beetle enthusiasts
  • Special events are organized to pay tribute to this legendary model
  • Nostalgia and admiration for the Beetle endure in this neighborhood of Mexico City

On the bustling streets of Mexico City, one neighborhood in particular stands out for the persistent presence of the legendary Volkswagen Beetle. A timeless symbol of automotive history, this iconic car continues to embody the unique heritage and cultural significance associated with it. Let’s discover together how this district perpetuates the memory of the Beetle and celebrates its invaluable heritage.

An automotive gem in the heart of Mexico City

In the rugged corners of Mexico City lies a very special treasure. Crossing the steep slopes of Cuautepec, a colorful parade of Volkswagen Beetles unveils a spectrum of vibrant colors and personalized patterns. These vehicles, affectionately nicknamed “vocho” in Mexico, continue to brave the hills of this sprawling megacity despite the end of their production in 2019.

The timeless charm of the “vocho”

A global icon, the Volkswagen Beetle has conquered hearts well beyond its German homelands. In Mexico City, it’s more than just a car; it embodies an integral part of local culture. Once known as “the people’s car”, the Beetle has been a predominant choice for taxis in the Mexican capital. Today, despite the scarcity of spare parts, the inhabitants of Cuautepec continue to maintain these small cars with passion and tenacity.

Affordable and robust car: The reason for success

For taxi drivers like Janette Navarro, the choice of the “vocho” is not trivial. Equipped with a robust rear motor, the Ladybug easily overcomes the steep slopes of Cuautepec. “No other car can come up here,” Navarro says with pride. The mechanical simplicity of these cars also makes them affordable and durable, a crucial factor for many families who depend on them for their livelihoods.

Traditions that endure despite obstacles

In this neighborhood, every Volkswagen Beetle has its own history and style. While some feature peeling paint from years gone by, others are meticulously maintained and personalized. For example, Claudio Garcia named his sparkling blue Beetle “Gualupita” in honor of his wife, adding aluminum flames as decoration.

The challenges of a fading passion

Unfortunately, the passion for the “vochos” is put to the test. Spare parts are becoming increasingly rare, forcing drivers and mechanics to resort to breakages or improvisation to keep these cars in working order. David Enojosa, a mechanic in the region, expresses his fear of seeing this tradition disappear in the years to come. “Before we had too many parts for the vochos, now there aren’t enough,” he said, his hands coated in engine grease.

A family and social heritage

For some, like Joaquín Peréz, driving a Volkswagen Beetle is much more than an economic necessity; It’s a family heirloom. His father was a taxi driver and passed on to him both the profession and the passion for these small cars. Eighteen years later, Joaquín continues to drive with pride in a car strewn with fond memories given to him by his family.

The uncertain but resilient future of the Beetle

Despite the uncertainty that hangs over their future, many refuse to let the legacy of the Volkswagen Beetle. Owners are adapting their cars, looking for alternatives and persevering to keep these road icons alive. At every turn and slope of Cuautepec, the “vochos” continue to symbolize the resilience and creativity of those who ride them.