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Volkswagen to end production of the Beetle next year


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Volkswagen to end production of the Beetle next year

By Arunima Banerjee and Joseph White

 

2018-09-13T202047Z_2_LYNXNPEE8C23X_RTROPTP_4_VOLKSWAGEN-BEETLE.JPG

FILE PHOTO: A 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line model is seen at the press day for the Washington Auto Show in Washington, DC, U.S., January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo

 

(Reuters) - Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> said on Thursday it would stop producing its Beetle compact car in 2019, ending a model that looked backward to the 1960s counterculture as the automaker prepares for a leap toward a future of mass-market electric cars.

 

The original VW Beetle, developed in the 1930s, made a journey from a product identified with Adolf Hitler to a symbol of Germany's rebirth as a democratic, industrial powerhouse after World War Two. In the 1960s, the Beetle was a small-is-beautiful icon of the postwar baby boom generation. Volkswagen discontinued U.S. sales of the "bug" in 1979, but continued production for Mexico and Latin America.

 

In the mid-1990s, at a time when Volkswagen was struggling to rekindle sales in the United States, then-Chief Executive Ferdinand Piech pushed to revive and modernize the distinctive Beetle design pioneered by his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche. The result was a crescent-shaped car called the "New Beetle," launched in 1998, which offered playful touches such as a built-in flower vase.

 

The New Beetle was a hit during its early years, with sales of more than 80,000 in the United States in 1999, but recently the car's U.S. sales have suffered along with most other small cars. Overall, VW has sold about 500,000 Beetles globally since 1998, the company said.

 

Volkswagen sold a total of 11,151 Beetles in the United States through the first eight months of 2018, down 2.2 percent from the same period a year earlier. U.S. consumers looking for a small Volkswagen vehicle overwhelmingly prefer the Jetta sedan, or a Tiguan compact sport utility vehicle. The Jetta, Tiguan and Beetle are built for North America and other markets at a factory in Mexico.

 

The end of the Beetle comes at a turning point for Volkswagen. The German automaker's last three years have been rocked by the fallout from a scandal caused by its admitted cheating on diesel emissions tests. Now, Volkswagen is gearing up to launch a wave of electric vehicles to appeal to a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers - children and grandchildren of the 1960s Beetle enthusiasts.

 

In a statement announcing the end of the Beetle, Hinrich Woebcken, head of Volkswagen of America, said that as the company ramps up its electrification strategy, there are no plans to replace the Beetle. However, his statement did not rule that out someday.

 

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.

 

The company said two special Beetle models will join the final lineup - Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL - in the United States and would offer driver-assistance technology.

 

(Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; and Joseph White in Detroit; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Phil Berlowitz)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-09-14
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1 hour ago, webfact said:

Overall, VW has sold about 500,000 Beetles globally since 1998, the company said.

I have not seen that many VWs either old or new in Thailand but no doubt there is a club somewhere here in the LOS.

orange vw.JPG

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There is a small garage here in Hua Hin, next to the traffic lights by the palace. They seem to specialise in VW;s. Always at least three bugs being worked on, all of the old design.

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They may not have been the highest performing car ever made, but they were a wonderful drive, it you did not mind staying under 90km/h. Off road they could go anywhere and they gave a wonderful view out around you, unlike the claustrophobic new small cars of today. Mine did 300,000 miles without a question. They would outlast 2 of today's models and just kept on going, no matter what.
It will be very sad to see them go, even if they were largely compromised with the new trendy models. What a shame people cannot buy such a simple, reliable, extremely durable (remember durability equals enviro friendly) and very enjoyable cheap car anymore.

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47 minutes ago, Thomas33399 said:

They may not have been the highest performing car ever made, but they were a wonderful drive, it you did not mind staying under 90km/h. Off road they could go anywhere and they gave a wonderful view out around you, unlike the claustrophobic new small cars of today. Mine did 300,000 miles without a question. They would outlast 2 of today's models and just kept on going, no matter what.
It will be very sad to see them go, even if they were largely compromised with the new trendy models. What a shame people cannot buy such a simple, reliable, extremely durable (remember durability equals enviro friendly) and very enjoyable cheap car anymore.

Agree with a lot of what you say. But. You ever adjust the tappets in one, especially the rear tappets?

Easy & simple are not phrases i'd use...

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VW made pretty much the perfect vehicles. A monkey could practically replace an engine on those old bugs. I have actually done it with a friend and i can barely hold a wrench. 

 

The demise of vehicles like the original vw bugs signifies to me we are all obsessed with meaningless crap... like going faster and lookimg better in pieces of expensive junk (although i gotta say there are many fine, modern day cars from folks like toyota and honda). 

 

The bugs prove you gotta produce products people want, not products that will actually be good for them. I do not even know what my point is other than everyone seems to care about the wromg damn things. 

 

 

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O-riginal beetle one of the most modified motors of all time .. From dune racer to drag strip and just about every discipline in between .. Capable of having its motor removed in less than 2 minutes .. Co star with Bert Kwouk in some of the best TV ad's for a car ever .. And because of their quant construction one of the few motors to have a personal mention in the MOT testers manual urging caution when it came to failing 'em for rust .. And they could float .. 

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