The Beetle is being squashed. Yep, you read correctly. The iconic vintage vehicle from Volkswagen will end production of its current, third-generation in July 2019. According to Frank Welsch, head of technical development at Volkswagen, the decision is merely a result of “The Bug” running its course.
“[The Beetle was] made with history in mind but you can’t do it five times and have a new new new Beetle,” said Welsch. The model’s year-long sendoff, beginning with special Beetle Final Edition models for 2019, will continue over the next several months.
The Volkswagen was commissioned by Adolf Hitler to provide low-cost transportation for the masses, and by 1938, designer Ferdinand Porsche had created the shape that would define the Beetle for decades to come. By the 1960s, it had become an icon for the free love era. Although the German automotive company halted sales in the U.S. in 1979, VW brought back the Beetle in 1997, with a new Beetle that proved a major divergence to the classic car. It was front-wheel drive and powered with a water-cooled engine.
By 2012, the most recent Beetle model came to be, with Volkswagen stylists creating a flattened roofline to reflect the vintage lines of the original Beetle designed by Ferdinand Porsche in the early 1930s. The broad stance of the 2012 VW Beetle made for a car with greater interior volume. The newest Beetle never quite caught on like its original model, however.
Before July 2019, Volkswagen will hold several events to celebrate the heritage and history of its original model.
“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,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it.”
While #ByeByeBeetle is sure to trend, there is something new to look forward to from VW. The company will release its first electric car, the I.D. hatchback, in 2020. It will be an affordable, stylish city car.
“The Beetle is more than a car,” said Woebcken, “it’s what made Volkswagen an integral part of American culture.”