Despite Saying 'No' to a (New) New Beetle, Volkswagen Hasn't Completely Closed the Door on the Idea
Last March, Volkswagen confirmed that once the current-generation Beetle runs its course, there won’t be another. It was thought — and hoped, for some VW execs — that the automaker would switch the iconic model to electric drive, thus keeping the brand’s heritage alive while at the same time fulfilling its promise to unleash scores of EVs into the marketplace.
Not so, it seems. “Two or three generations [of Beetle] is enough now,” said VW R&D chief Frank Welsch in an interview with Autocar. “You can’t do it five times and have a ‘New New New Beetle.’”
Well, that was spring, and this is summer. Apparently, VW hasn’t completely ruled out the return of the people’s car. Should the model stage a reappearance, however, prepare yourself for some sacrilegious changes.
According to Autocar, Volkswagen brass are again mulling a new generation of Beetle. Perhaps they never stopped. If green-lit by the powers that be, the new model would dispense with the two-door configuration enjoyed by consumers ever since the first KdF-Wagen rolled out of Nazi Germany in 1938. The two-doors-only proposition, coupled with the fact that the Beetle is a car, hasn’t helped the model’s popularity in this crossover-fetishizing era.
Naturally, it will also be electric, but you probably expected that. Should the automaker grace us with a new Beetle, you’ll find its underpinnings to be identical to those found beneath the upcoming line of I.D. electric vehicles — a product portfolio that includes a latter-day Microbus. Besides using the MEB platform, VW might take advantage of the electric motor’s compact size and hook one to the rear wheels, thus returning the Beetle to the drive configuration it was born with.
Newly minted Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess (formerly VW brand boss) is keen to keep models around that remind people of Volkswagens of yore. He calls them “emotional” models. But before consumers get to enjoy those warm feelings, there’s high-volume money to be made — and that means cranking out things like the I.D. (due next year) and I.D. Crozz SUV first. The reborn Microbus (called the I.D. Buzz) comes along in 2022.
“Our duty is to get the volume [ID] models under way,” said VW design boss Klaus Bischoff. “These cars have super-complicated technology and if you do too much, it’s an overload. Then we [can] move into more exotic cars and the field of emotion.”
He added, “The Beetle of today is a very attractive two-door coupé or convertible, but it is limited in the amount of cars that it can sell because it’s a niche.” By borrowing the shortest-wheelbase version of the MEB platform, Mischoff said VW should be able to produce a Beetle with classic dimensions, only now with more interior volume. Four doors are essential for maximizing the usefulness of that space.
VW redesigned the Beetle for the 2012 model year, but the upsurge in sales didn’t last long. After a post-recession U.S. sales high in 2013, it was down, down, down for the little coupe and convertible. Sales plummeted 41.6 percent, year over year, in May. Total volume over the first five months of 2018 fell 5.5 percent.
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- CEastwood Seven mil nitrile gloves from Harbor Freight for oil changes and such and the thicker heavy duty gripper gloves from Wally World for most everything else . Hell we used to use no gloves for any of that and when we did it was usually the white cloth gloves bought by the dozen or the gray striped cuff ones for heavy duty use . Old man rant over , but I laugh when I see these types of gloves in a bargain bin at Home Cheapo for 15 bucks a pair !
- Not Previous Used Car of the Day entries that spent decades in the weeds would still be a better purchase than this car. The sucker who takes on this depreciated machine will learn the hard way that a cheap German car is actually a very expensive way to drive around.
- Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
- Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
- Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.