Volkswagen Beetle Lets Out A Cry in the Dark, Killed Off in Australia

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen beetle lets out i a cry in the dark i killed off in australia

Aussies are clearly not in love with the Volkswagen Beetle. The company will scrap sales of the slow-selling vehicle in Mel Gibson’s homeland later this year.

According to Caradvice, Australian sales of the Beetle fell to just 240 units in 2015, a small fraction of what Volkswagen enjoyed when the first-generation New Beetle arrived on its shores in 2000. In contrast, Volkswagen sold 22,667 Beetles in the United States and 2,347 in Canada during 2015, according to GoodCarBadCar.net.

The launch of the second generation Beetle did nothing to stop Australian sales from drying up like the entire interior portion of the country.

Unlike when the model launched, Australian consumers now have choice when it comes to small, retro-styled vehicles. The Mini Cooper and Fiat 500 now gobble up ten times the sales of the Beetle.

Oddly, a convertible version of the Beetle is not offered in Australia, which seems like an oversight on Volkswagen’s part. If you’re marketing a model in a large, hot country ringed with beaches, why wouldn’t you offer the existing drop-top version?

Volkswagen plans to give the unpopular model one last chance to shine before it’s dragged behind the barn later this year. The stripped-down Beetle Classic will briefly go on sale, giving Australians one last chance to change their minds and fall in love again.

In a move that’s sure to set souls on fire, the Classic will come with no options and will be offered in a single color, News Corp Australia reports.

In a statement that barely registers a blip on the enthusiasm meter, Volkswagen called the Classic “a limited-run special model that will offer some unique equipment and individualized numbering.”

Clear the streets in Melbourne. There’s going to be a mob.

[Image: Beetle © 2015 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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  • Dann Dann on Mar 06, 2016

    "Oddly, a convertible version of the Beetle is not offered in Australia, which seems like an oversight on Volkswagen’s part." Not entirely true, VW Australia offered a convertible version of the first gen New Beetle, to limited fanfare. Obviously not enough takers to offer it in the second gen.

  • Mjz Mjz on Mar 07, 2016

    This Beetle is too damn big. It should be a size smaller, off the Polo platform, not Golf based. It looks like a big, fat and bloated caricature of itself.

  • Arthur Dailey Ford was on a roll with these large cars. The 'aircraft' inspired instrument 'pod' for the driver rather than the 'flat' instrument panel. Note that this vehicle does not have the clock. The hands and numbers are missing. Having the radio controls on the left side of the driver could however be infuriating. Although I admire pop-up/hideaway headlights, Ford's vacuum powered system was indeed an issue. If I left my '78 T-Bird parked for more than about 12 hours, there was a good chance that when I returned the headlight covers had retracted. The first few times this happened it gave me a 'start' as I feared that I may have left the lights on and drained the battery.
  • Jeff S Still a nice car and I remember these very well especially in this shade of green. The headlights were vacuum controlled. I always liked the 67 thru 72 LTDs after that I found them bloated. Had a friend in college with a 2 door 71 LTD which I drove a couple of times it was a nice car.
  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.
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