Despite Saying 'No' to a (New) New Beetle, Volkswagen Hasn't Completely Closed the Door on the Idea

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
despite saying 8216 no to a new new beetle volkswagen hasnt completely closed

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.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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  • Matt Foley Matt Foley on Jul 02, 2018

    Next-gen Beetle should have a normally-aspirated version of the Boxster's 2.0 flat four hung behind the back axle, available in RWD and AWD configurations. Bring back the Sun Bug, Jeans Beetle, and a couple of other special editions. How cool would that be? It wouldn't sell, of course...but how cool would that be???

  • "scarey" "scarey" on Jul 02, 2018

    Are they SELLING ? If so, keep making/selling them. If not, so be it. What I( would like to see here is the CALIFORNIA van.

  • Wjtinfwb How does the ICE mid-engine C8 platform work for... anything else? A sedan? SUV? With a mid engine configuration? A mid-engine SUV will have to be Suburban sized to offer the utility of a CRV. GM should dust off the Omega platform designed for the Cadillac CT6 for an SUV/Sedan offering with exceptional handling, Rear or AWD capability and acceptable space utilization. They also need to focus on interior fit & finish, trim choices and high quality final engineering and assembly. What GM doesn't need is another half-baked product with a storied and prestigious badge on the decklid and a premium price on the Monroney. No more Cimarron's, Allante's or X-cars needed to tarnish the reputation of Corvette.
  • InCogKneeToe BUILD It and they will come.By Build It, I mean a Vehicle that the Customer Wants and it works for them. It could be called Chevette for all that that matters. The Mach E's success isn't because it totes the Mustang on it.Just build what people want, the next Caravan/Taurus/Beetle/Maverick (truck).
  • YellowDuck do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
  • Mark 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, G4NG engine with connecting rod bearing issues. Engine needs to be replaced, but Hyundai is denying warranty claim. I have all maintenance records from mile zero. It has been in Hyundai Service department 5 time in 4 months. They added the knock sensor and software update to let you know the engine is about to blow up. They kicked the can down the road doing patch work until the car was past the 120k extended extended warranty. I have that documentation too. So how can I join the class action law suit or find a Lawyer that handles these types of issues?