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Business Briefs

Volkswagen to stop making the classic Beetle; Polish oil company opens first German gas station; private rail company takes up new route.


The original Beetle is finally on its way out.

Volkswagen to stop production of Beetle

German carmaker Volkswagen said on Friday it was winding down production of the original rear-engine Beetle later this year. VW spokesman Fred Baerbock said production of the last old Beetles at the VW plant in Puebla, Mexico would "end this summer." Demand for the original bug-shaped model, which has been manufactured only in Puebla since 1978, has been falling. Volkswagen has sold more than 21 millions of the cars over the decades, but said it produced less than 30,000 at Puebla last year. The move will end the nearly 70-year history of the classic bug. First built to be the "people’s car", the auto entered mass production only after World War II.

Polish oil company opens first gas station in Germany

Leading Polish oil company PKN Orlen opened its first gasoline station in Germany on Friday in Berlin in the presence of German Economics Minister Wolfgang Clement and his Polish counterpart Jerzy Hausner. Orlen bought 494 stations from British Petroleum last year including ones operating under the Aral, BP and Eggert Oil brands. Eventually the Polish company will have a strong presence in the German states of North-Rhine Westphalia (196) and Lower Saxony (118).

Private rail company starts new cross-country route

Private rail company Connex, Deutsche Bahn’s largest competitor, began its third rail route in Germany on Friday. The InterConnex will travel the 912-kilometer stretch from Rostock to Cologne twice daily. The trip from the Baltic Sea to the Rhine river will take 12 hours and costs €50. Connex offers its passengers fixed fees at significantly lower levels than the Deutsche Bahn, which has come in for much criticism for its expensive and confusing pricing system. While the Bahn is happy to rent out its rails to the competition, in recent days the company and Connex have been wrangling over where the private company can get its trains cleaned.