Volkswagen Squashes the Bug, Will Stop Making Iconic Beetle in 2019

A Volkswagen rendering of the latest beetle.

Prepare to bid auf wiedersehen to the Beetle.

Volkswagen said Thursday it will retire the bulbous car, one of the most recognizable vehicles ever made, next year.

For its grand finale, the German carmaker said it will produce a “Final Edition” Beetle series. It will be available in convertible or hardtop, with base prices of $23,045 for a coupe and $27,295 for a convertible

“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” Volkswagen president and Hinrich Woebcken said in a statement.

The Beetle’s legacy harkens back to the 1930s, when Ferdinand Porsche, the prolific engineer behind the famed luxury vehicle brand, decided to design a “People’s Car” or “Volkswagen” in German.

The car entered mass production after World War II, and it debuted in North America in 1949, and within two decades, became one of the world’s best-selling vehicles.

Its fame was solidified with Walt Disney’s 1968 film “The Love Bug,” which features a anthropomorphic Beetle named Herbie that makes a splash on the California racing circuit.

The original version of the Beetle, a rear-engined vehicle that owners often decked out in colorful paints during the flower power era of the 1960s and 70s, ended production in Mexico in 2003. More than 21 million were produced over the car’s 65-year lifespan.

Volkswagen brought the Beetle back with new generations in 1998 and 2012.

But market trends have shifted drastically since the Beetle’s heyday. Recently, consumers have been far more interested in SUVs and other spacious vehicles than compact cars.

“Unlike Ford’s Mustang and, so far, Dodge’s Challenger and Chevrolet’s Camaro, Volkswagen will let an iconic model die rather than fight market trends,” Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, said in an emailed statement.

“In this environment the business case for cars in general, and small cars in particular, becomes increasingly difficult to justify,” Bauer said. “Anyone surprised or disappointed by this announcement better prepare themselves. In the months to come more automakers will be announcing more iconic model cancellations.”

But Volkswagen chief Woebcken left open the possibility that the Beetle may one day rise from the grave.

“I would also say, ‘Never say never,'” he said in the statement.

The “Final Edition” Beetle will end production in Puebla, Mexico in July 2019.

Talkback 16 Online Discussion:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

3 comments

  • Kili Wall

    Sorry, but the problem with the Beetle isn’t that it’s small. It’s that the current version is longer than the previous one, and that VW pulled that sneaky idiocy with their diesel engines and emissions testing. I had a 2006 diesel Beetle, and I loved that car. But when she needed more repairs than her blue book value, it was time to trade her in….. and VW had blown it with the emissions falsehoods…. AND by making them LONGER in 2012 than the previous “new” beetle was. So I am now the owner of a KIA Niro…. the mileage is as good as my diesel beetle was, it’s not much longer than the newer version of the beetle, and it has better capacity…. that being said, had they not pulled that nonsense with emissions, and not elongated the beetle…. I’d have gotten another beetle. Personally, after the gross dishonesty of the emissions issue, I believe VW deserves to fail.