The Volkswagen Beetle is about to become extinct and it doesn’t appear to be coming back this time. After a lengthy production run, the VW “Bug” will come to the end of its life cycle soon. Volkswagen’s research and development leader, Frank Welsch, confirmed the news to Autocar last week.
“Two or three generations is enough now,” he said, adding that the car was “made with history in mind but you can’t do it five times and have a new new new Beetle.”
The Bug’s Long History
The VW Beetle began production way back in 1938. It took a while for the car to reach its pop icon status, though. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s when its popularity really took off. It even became the star of its own movie series: Disney’s “Love Bug.” You remember Herbie, right?
Back in 2003, Volkswagen decided to stop production. At that point, the company had nearly 22 million of the little bugs.
The VW’s Bug’s Big Comeback
But the Beetle didn’t die back then. It was simply in hibernation. In 2014, Volkswagen announced the Beetle was making a comeback. Of course, the brand got a contemporary update. The company wanted to bring back the nostalgia factor, but give drivers a modern look and performance.
“We can appeal to a younger demographic who want their cars to be modern, but by putting in the vintage feel, we can appeal to the older demographic who are nostalgic for the vehicle,” then product planner Kerry Deutsch told Adweek in September 2014.
What Will Take the Beetle’s Place?
It’s hard to imagine a car that could possibly live up to the VW bug as far as style and nostalgia. However, Volkswagen is pinning its hopes on its Microbus and Cabriolet to fill the void the Bug will leave behind, according to Motor Authority.
The new Microbus is based on what Volkswagen calls the “ID Buzz” concept (which means the bus has been redesigned to appeal to 21st century drivers). It will be a fully electric vehicle with features like multi-variable seating, interactive connectivity and highly automated driving.
But the new Microbus will appeal to drivers’ nostalgia with elements from the original bus, such as the classic VW logo and even a trunk in the front.
When will you actually be able to purchase one of these new-and-improved buses? Volkswagen announced last August that they expect them to hit dealerships in 2022. We’ll have to wait a while, but it won’t be too long!
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