Volkswagen to end production of iconic Beetle
The model has been sold on and off for 70 years.
Volkswagen has announced it will stop production of its iconic Beetle model.
The company's American unit announced Thursday that it would end global production of the third-generation bulbous car in July of next year after offering two special editions for sale.
The compact Beetle was introduced in Germany in 1938 during the Nazi era and came to the US 11 years later, where it became a symbol of utilitarian transportation often used by hippies. The iconic car sold for about 30 years before production ceased in 1979.
Volkswagen revived it 1998 as a more modern "New Beetle," but it attracted mainly female buyers. The company revamped it for the 2012 model year in an effort to make it appeal to men, giving it a flatter roof, less bulbous shape, a bigger trunk and a navigation system. U.S. sales rose five-fold to nearly 29,000 in the first year, but tailed off after that. Last year VW sold only 8,627, according to Autodata Corp.
The special editions, which come in coupe and convertible body styles, get unique beige and blue colours in addition to the normal hues. They also get standard extra chrome, new wheels and three-color ambient lighting inside.
Volkswagen has no immediate plans to revive the Beetle again, but the company wouldn't rule it out. "I would say 'never say never,'" VW of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said in a statement.
He noted the company’s I.D. Buzz, a prototype for a 21st Century reincarnation of the microbus. The automaker has said it intends to put a vehicle similar to the I.D. Buzz into production as an electric vehicle.
Updated: September 14, 2018 03:47 AM