An iconic Volkswagen Beetle thrives in a Mexico City neighborhood

In Mexico City, the Volkswagen Beetle, known as the “vocho,” continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many residents, especially in the neighborhood of Cuautepec, where classic Beetles still line the streets. Despite production of newer models halting in 2019, these iconic cars are still favored by taxi drivers like Janette Navarro for their affordability and power to navigate the neighborhood’s steep hills.

**Preserving a Tradition**

For Navarro, driving a Beetle is not just a job but a source of pride and love. She has been driving Beetles for eight years to support her family and send her children to school. The Beetle holds a special place in her heart, and she proudly identifies as a “vochera.” While some Beetles are in need of maintenance, others are meticulously cared for, with owners giving them unique names and decorative touches. Despite the challenges of finding parts and passing emissions inspections, many drivers like Navarro and Joaquín Peréz are determined to keep their Beetles running as a way to preserve a family tradition and a connection to the community.

**The Decline of the Vocho**

However, mechanics in the area believe that the tradition of driving vochos is slowly fading away. With Volkswagen halting production of the Beetle and parts becoming harder to find, many Beetles are falling into disrepair. For car mechanic David Enojosa, who runs a small car shop that used to primarily focus on Beetles, the future of vochos is uncertain. As newer cars take over the roads, the classic Beetle population in Mexico City continues to decline.

**Finding a Way to Keep the Vocho Alive**

Despite the challenges, many drivers in Cuautepec are determined to keep their Beetles on the road. Drivers like Jesús Becerra believe that with creativity and resourcefulness, they can continue to adapt and maintain their beloved cars. Whether it’s searching for spare parts in repair shops or improvising repairs, these drivers are willing to go the extra mile to keep their vochos running. For Peréz, driving his Beetle is not just a mode of transportation but a way to honor his family history and preserve the legacy of the vocho in his neighborhood.

**A Symbol of Resilience**

In the face of changing times and the decline of the classic Beetle population in Mexico City, drivers like Navarro, Becerra, and Peréz are a testament to the resilience and enduring spirit of the vocho. Despite the challenges, these individuals continue to drive their Beetles with pride and determination, keeping the tradition alive in their community. As long as there are drivers like them who refuse to let go of their beloved vochos, the iconic Volkswagen Beetle will always have a place in the hearts of the people of Mexico City.

In conclusion, the Volkswagen Beetle may be reaching the end of its era in Mexico City, but for the residents of neighborhoods like Cuautepec, the vocho will always be more than just a car – it is a symbol of pride, tradition, and resilience. As long as there are drivers who are willing to preserve the legacy of the beloved Beetle, its spirit will continue to live on in the streets of Mexico City.

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