Volkswagen Ends Beetle Production

We just received this news from Volkswagen. TL;DR? The Beetle is dead after the 2019 model year.

Is the Beetle really gone forever, or just skipping a few years of production? Sure, that’s happened before–U.S. sales of the original Beetle ended in 1979–but this announcement marks the first time that production of the Beetle has stopped worldwide (assuming you consider the New Beetle to be a continuation of the nameplate).

Has Volkswagen finally fulfilled their dream from the ‘70s, and ditched the Beetle in favor of the Golf? Or is this just a PR stunt before they release the next generation of Beetle? Let us know what you think in the comments.


VOLKSWAGEN ANNOUNCES BEETLE FINAL EDITION

Special models celebrate Beetle’s rich heritage as third-generation is set to end production in 2019

Herndon, VA (September 13, 2018) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it will end production of the iconic Beetle in 2019. To celebrate the Beetle’s rich heritage, two special models will join the lineup for its last model year—Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL.

“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. But as we have seen with the I.D. BUZZ—which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus—I would also say, ‘Never say never.’ We’re excited to kick off a year of celebrating one of the true icons of the automotive world, with a series of events that will culminate in the end of production in Puebla in July 2019.”

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Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/13/18 12:39 p.m.

Sometimes a model just runs its course and after most people who want one have one, it needs to end for awhile.  Especially one that is such a "niche" model.

In a decade or less, we'll get an EV Beetle.

APEowner
APEowner Dork
9/13/18 12:43 p.m.

I feel old.  I remember the last time that was a headline.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/13/18 12:45 p.m.

I had heard it would require a major redesign and that a 3rd Retro Beetle didn't really seem right as even this New Beetle design is now 20 yrs old.  

 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
9/13/18 12:47 p.m.

Can the New New Beetle be a production Fun Cup car?

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
9/13/18 2:05 p.m.

My first two cars were AC VWs, so I have a strong affection for them.  The "new" beetle just didn't do anything for me.    

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
9/13/18 2:57 p.m.

A new beetle as a cheeky low cost EV might work well. VW is already bringing back the bus as an EV. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/13/18 3:19 p.m.

In reply to Vigo :

I'd agree.  The overall shape is simply too iconic to go away forever. It just needs a few years for folks to get nostalgic again. 

P3PPY
P3PPY New Reader
9/13/18 3:34 p.m.

I didn't grow up in the first gen's era but surely much of its popularity and lasting power was due to its modding versatility, right? That and affordability. Neither of those were the case with the new ones. IMO they were rolling half off of nostalgia and half off of cute. The question then is how much nostalgia will kids have in 20 years for the cutesy car from the 90s? Or will its design still be a staple of Americana and sell accordingly

RossD
RossD MegaDork
9/13/18 3:36 p.m.

I was always startled by how much I liked seeing the current A5 generation of Beetle in the wild. It's a shame that the cutesy New Beetle version ever happened.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
9/13/18 4:01 p.m.

It was pretty clear they where struggling with it just from a design perspective.  That slightly squashed on and slightly squared fender thing they did a few years ago just seemed to be change for change sake. 

Just like the original design, there really is no need or good way to change the design as it was.  The only significant design changes in the original Beetle (ignoring required safety changes) were changes to the size of the windows.

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
9/13/18 4:21 p.m.

Porsche and VW are under the same umbrella and the 911 is still being made right? 

ThatsNoUsername
ThatsNoUsername HalfDork
9/13/18 5:17 p.m.

The newest version is a horrible squashed thing anyway

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
9/13/18 5:20 p.m.
captdownshift said:

Porsche and VW are under the same umbrella and the 911 is still being made right? 

Yes, they call it the Cayman.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
9/13/18 6:58 p.m.

A MkIV NB was one of the few times I was happy to lose money when selling a car. 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia Reader
9/13/18 7:14 p.m.

The New Beetle never got the numbers VW first hoped for  

It was very expensive in Europe compared to a Golf  ( same running gear)

And to an Air Cooled VW crowd it never  became part of the family , 

I went to 3 of the VW Factories building the Aircooled bug , Germany , Mexico and Brazil , but never even though about going to the Mexico Factory to see  the New Beetle built , 

VW  is now trying to improve its image with EVs , so no place for a New Beetle 3

Suprf1y
Suprf1y UltimaDork
9/13/18 7:27 p.m.
aircooled said:

It was pretty clear they where struggling with it just from a design perspective.  That slightly squashed on and slightly squared fender thing they did a few years ago just seemed to be change for change sake. 

Just like the original design, there really is no need or good way to change the design as it was.  The only significant design changes in the original Beetle (ignoring required safety changes) were changes to the size of the windows.

The latest version looks closer to the original design than the previous gen

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy UltimaDork
9/13/18 7:35 p.m.

The Beetle is one of those cars that inspire the thought, "They still build Beetles?"

hamster
hamster New Reader
9/13/18 7:36 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

Maybe raise it up and create a crossover - New Baja Bug!

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan SuperDork
9/13/18 7:40 p.m.

I occasionally spot a GSR in the city.  They've always looked cool. smiley

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe UberDork
9/13/18 8:12 p.m.

We love our 2014 convertible. Dam near a perfect empty nester car. Other then a few window regulator alignment issues its been dare I say almost perfect over the last 30K miles.

 

I would love to upgrade to a R convertible for the wife but I have never even seen one in the wild. Local dealer told me they were special order only but the DSG and the bigger stereo with the touch screen would be nice.

te72
te72 Reader
9/13/18 9:12 p.m.

The world of the automobile would be a bit weird without the Beetle in some (most likely EV) form... I mean, we're talking about a nameplate older than the Corvette, Mustang, Land Cruiser, Corolla, Falcon, Civic, etc... Hell, it's roughly as old as the Jeep!

 

I bet we'll see it again, eventually. Then again, I've heard the same about the Bus / Type 2 for probably 20 or so years now too, and we have yet to see anything but concepts in that department.

 

Trouble with lifting the thing and calling it a crossover would likely be the lack of rear doors that are apparently a requirement of all common vehicles these days...

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/13/18 9:36 p.m.

The "new" beetle always struck me as a car that neither had the performance of a low-volume GT car, nor the versatility of similar-sized hatchbacks like the Golf. It was there just for nostalgia and for people to get silly vanity license plates, but there never seemed to be any kind of practical reason to actually get one. 

I've considered many, many random cars as purchases over the years - even ones that either sucked or made no sense. The new beetle is something that I never considered getting, not for a single second. Then again, I'm not a teenage girls, so....

dfstaples
dfstaples
9/14/18 7:29 a.m.
irish44j said:

The "new" beetle always struck me as a car that neither had the performance of a low-volume GT car, nor the versatility of similar-sized hatchbacks like the Golf. It was there just for nostalgia and for people to get silly vanity license plates, but there never seemed to be any kind of practical reason to actually get one. 

I learned to drive powersliding a '71 Super Beetle around gravel roads in rural Mississippi, which gave me a primal attraction to the early Beetles.  I think if they would have made the new Beetle with the engine properly in the rear of the car, sort of a poor-man's 911, then there would have been a great reason to get one.  Every time I see a new Beetle, I can't help think what could have been, but as it is, just a re-bodied FWD Golf chassis, what's the point?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/14/18 10:04 a.m.

Growing up on Long Island in the '70s, Beetles were among the few foreign cars seen on our roads. We had a few in our neighborhood. (Although, oddly, my parents had a Toyota Corona and a Spitfire in the early '70s.)

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
9/14/18 10:44 a.m.
Vigo said:

A new beetle as a cheeky low cost EV might work well. VW is already bringing back the bus as an EV. 

maybe they are doing that for this very reason? Hype for promotion. 

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/14/18 10:50 a.m.

I loved the 73 Superbeetle I had in college.  That little thing took me through the "Storm of the Century" back in 1993.   It was simple, well built and fun.  Yeah, I had to scrape the windshield's INSIDE with a credit card to clear the ice in the winter.... but that just added character! 

 

I never could muster any love for the Golf Beetle---- it was only a beetle in silhouette.   

 

Suprf1y
Suprf1y UltimaDork
9/14/18 12:14 p.m.
Joe Gearin said:

 

I never could muster any love for the Golf Beetle---- it was only a beetle in silhouette.  

Kind of like the mini for me.

Locally, the hot car for mini stock is the Golf. Nothing can touch them. The odd Jetta is in there too, but I've searched the local classifieds for new Beetles more than once. Could be a fun mini stock project.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
9/14/18 2:21 p.m.

I thought it was already dead.  Our local dealer doesn't even stock them.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
9/14/18 3:09 p.m.
Suprf1y said:
Joe Gearin said:

 

I never could muster any love for the Golf Beetle---- it was only a beetle in silhouette.  

Kind of like the mini for me.

Locally, the hot car for mini stock is the Golf. Nothing can touch them. The odd Jetta is in there too, but I've searched the local classifieds for new Beetles more than once. Could be a fun mini stock project.

At least the MINI was FWD with a liquid cooled engine like the original Mini.  

Brian_13
Brian_13 New Reader
9/18/18 9:33 p.m.

The New Beetle and A5 Beetle are just nostalgia bodies on a Golf, applying what was a logical design eight decades ago for a rear-engine small sedan to a modern front-drive hatch, where it doesn't make any sense.

I expect that the Beetle name and general shape (probably much more like a New Beetle than a real Beetle) will reappear as a nostalgia bodies on whatever VW actually builds as a dedicated EV platform. It won't make sense, either, but they'll sell some to people who think that a Beetle is cute and never drove a real one.

The news doesn't mean much, as there is no significant change in the model lineup. Both nameplates and body styles come and go - who really cares?

 

And yes, the BMW Mini makes much more sense as a tribute to the Austin Mini. On the other hand, its configuration is completely generic modern small car, while the original was relatively innovative.

loosecannon
loosecannon Dork
9/18/18 9:49 p.m.

I never warmed up to the New Beetle and it's not because I'm a purist, I just think making such a significant change like engine location and drive wheels means that it's not honoring the legacy of the original. The new MINI does a pretty good job of honoring the original (not the variants, just the Cooper and Cooper S) and the new Fiat 500 is also a good continuation of the old (again, not the crappy big variants, only the 2 door ones). Would a Porsche 911 still be a Porsche 911 if they built it on the Panamera platform? Of course not.  I won't miss the front engine Beetle

Mike
Mike SuperDork
9/19/18 10:41 p.m.

In reply to loosecannon :

The FIAT 500 is a similar story to the Beetle/New Beetle:

loosecannon
loosecannon Dork
9/19/18 10:44 p.m.

In reply to Mike :

You are correct, I am wrong about the Fiat 500

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
9/20/18 6:41 a.m.

Body shop technicians will rejoice. What a miserable car to work on. Though glad for the unique look in a sea of jellybean cars that inspire zero passion the Beetle has run its course. This insurance estimator will delight in never seeing any again.

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