Any New Beetle Will Be Rear-wheel-drive, Says Volkswagen Chairman

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
any new beetle will be rear wheel drive says volkswagen chairman

We’ve been talking about the next Volkswagen Beetle — well, a few of us have — ever since the restyled two-door dropped the “New” moniker and flatted out its roofline a tad.

While the 2012 reshaping gave the model a new lease on life, it also seemed to be the plucky coupe’s end point, stylistically speaking. Where do you take a model from there, without erasing the retro charm that wooed buyers in the late 1990s? Maybe it was time for the model to die. Not surprisingly, reports arose last year claiming the Beetle had a date with the chopping block.

And yet, that rumor never really went anywhere. The model remains, its official future still in limbo. However, it seems Volkswagen brass is coming around to the idea that the Beetle deserves a permanent place in the company’s lineup, though not in the layout we’ve grown accustomed to.

Any new New Beetle will be rear-wheel drive, says VW chairman Herbert Diess.

As reported by Autocar, it seems the reborn Microbus.

Picture it — a Beetle and Microbus, back together again, only now with zero tailpipe emissions. (Hubert Humphrey bumper stickers not included.)

Given that VW has already nailed down what it wants from its first crop of new EVs, any new Beetle would come after a flurry of launches scheduled for the 2020-2022 time frame. “The next decision on electric cars will be what kind of emotional concepts we need,” Diess explained.

While there’s surely powertrain advancements in store for that far-away time, a direct carryover of the company’s planned electric propulsion systems could put roughly 200 horsepower and gobs of torque to the Beetle’s rear wheels. Or, if VW felt compelled, it could go dual-motor/all-wheel drive. Call that vision the EcoDune, if you will.

As Diess said, “You can do derivatives efficiently. We have a very flexible platform.”

Beetle sales in the U.S. last year dropped to a low not seen since the slow model changeover in 2011, with only 15,667 units sold. That’s less than one-fifth the volume seen in its best year, 1999, when 83,434 Americans took home a reborn Love Bug.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Nov 12, 2017

    Rear wheel drive sounds good. Electric motors and batteries, not so good. Electricity is too expensive, and there's no way to upgrade by dropping a LS V8 into it. At least with the old flat four, you could make an ill-fated attempt to swap in a Porsche motor. Batteries and electric motors means no more ill-fated attempts - what's the use of even owning a car if you can't jury-rig it to be something it's not?

  • Mya65707300 Mya65707300 on Mar 10, 2023

    Why can’t you just make a modern, rear-engined, front-trucked, rwd, gasoline powered, manual transmission, 2 door, beetle? So Just modernize the old bug and keep its charm. It is really not as hard as it sounds because you already have a new bug. It would be really cool if it was a boxer engine like the classic ones. It would also be really cool if you added an optional chrome roof racks and bars to give it that surf bug vibe. The attributes and charm of the classic battle are why people liked them then and still love them now. It would just be nice to know that there’s still a company that hasn’t forgotten its culture. if someone working at Volkswagen sees this. Please, bring it up in a meeting or something with the design team and take it into consideration. If you need further convincing, it probably will help with profits because you will not only have the usual people who just want a car to get from a to b but you will also have nostalgia buyers and people who want a it because of a manual boxer in a 2 door car that isn’t really expensive like a Porsche which is the only other company that I can think of that has something like that. Try to include certain aspects of the car appearance from the classic car to the new car. But make sure you consolidate classic beetle fans and car enthusiasts for their opinions on whatever platform you can find before you make the design final and put it into production. I know that is pretty much what you did here and I thank you for that. So really all that would make this new bug super profitable and the best thing you could have done is, make optional nostalgic accessories, move the engine to the rear, then turn the engine bay into the trunk, make it come with a manual transmission option, and add some nostalgic design elements, then present it to the internet and see what they think(please don’t listen to the, as I call them ‘eco-maniacs’ who want to push electric cars, no matter how profitable of a demographic they seem, please it makes me sad that so many companies are going that direction, plus car enthusiasts, your fan base, former fans(nostalgia buyers), all manner of car guys, plus your normal customers, is much more profitable. And of course there’s the really hard part which is (if you don’t already have one) design a boxer engine for the car or you could probably get a contract with Subaru who has boxer engines(which people already love to engine swap with the classic beetle anyway). That is the formula for success. I’m sorry my grammar sucks but I’m writing this in a rush. That is all.

    thank you.

  • Nopiho Kovaon GOOGLE
  • Inside Looking Out Scandinavian design costs only $600? I mean the furniture.
  • Akear Lets be honest, Lucid will not be around in five years. It does not matter that it is probably the world's best EV sedan. Lucid's manufacturing and marketing is a complete mess. The truth is most EV companies are going under within the decade.
  • Peeryog OK , my fault. But there were a number of inadvertent scatalogical references in the original post. To which, having the intellectual maturity of a 12 year old boy, I snickered.
  • Ajla People that buy a new Silverado or Sierra without a V8 are like the people that get salmon at Peter Luger.