After 23 years and more than 223,000 cars sold in the United States alone, Volkswagen of America is saying good-bye to the Mark 3 Golf-based Volkswagen Cabrio, the last of which has now left the Puebla, Mexico factory.

At its peak, the Volkswagen Cabrio was the best-selling European convertible sold in the US but it was kept on sale far too long (the Mark 4 Golf came out in 1998 but there was no all-new cabrio derivative; instead the old model soldiered on with a nose and tail restyle).

Nonetheless, the Golf cabrio sold over 13,000 units last year, according to RL Polk & Co data, making it the fifth-most popular convertible in the US.

Its death knell was sounded by news that VW was (finally) developing a New Beetle convertible, expected to make its debut at the Los Angeles and Detroit motor shows next January. That car will replace the Golf cabrio on the Mexican assembly line.

‘Spy’ shots of production-ready cars on final test show a neat fully-open design that lacks the Golf-based cabrio’s bulky roll-over hoop, distinctive chromed waistline trim that wraps right around the passenger compartment and a heated glass rear window.

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Volkswagen introduced the Cabrio to the US market in 1979 as the Rabbit (then the US name for the Golf) Convertible. It succeeded the original rear-engine Beetle Convertible dropped the same year.

VW is now running out the last 2002 Cabrios left at US dealerships.