DETROIT — Sep 13, 2018, 5:36 PM ET

VW to stop making iconic Beetle next summer


After selling it on and off in the U.S. for nearly seven decades, Volkswagen has decided to squash its iconic Beetle.

The company's American unit announced Thursday that it would end global production of the third-generation bulbous bug 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 U.S. 11 years later, where it became a symbol of utilitarian transportation often used by hippies. The iconic car sold for about 30 years before U.S. sales stopped in 1979. The last of the original bugs was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in 2003.

Volkswagen revived it in the U.S. in 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 colors 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.

The company plans to roll out an electric version of the old Bus in 2022 called the I.D. Buzz.

News - VW to stop making iconic Beetle next summer

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  • IT-Worker-Since-1990

    I hated the new Bug design and loved the old one. I am glad that I can get the old ones in Mexico and bring them across the border under the 25 year rule, fix them up and sell them. I have made a lot of money doing that as a side project in the past.

  • Lee-Anne Griffin

    Never quite understood how the modern Beetle could be compared to the economical old Beetle. They were both round but nothing else was similar. And certainly not the pricing.

  • GoBucksMan

    I remember the '79 version my sister had.... Forest green, with tan pleather interior, and a kind of semi-clutch gear system. You'd take your foot off the gas and put it into 'second' gear, but it had no clutch. A 'slanted-H' stick. I used to 'borrow' it (at 17, with no licence!) to joy-ride at night. ;)

  • kritikosman

    They'll be back.

  • BannedAgain

    Slug Bug!

  • Planet Earth

    Makes sense...I don't know who these are for now. I barely see them on the road if ever. Young people prefer hatchbacks now for more space and function.

  • badhairpiece

    Go back to the old style Beetle with extended chrome bumpers, use a Subaru 2.5 engine for power, never look back.