By on September 12, 2018

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Classic, Image: Volkswagen Group of America

Kiss the never-ending Summer of Love goodbye. Leaves are falling from the trees, there’s a chill in the air, and Becky from Sacramento just left with your best friend — and wallet. After two latter-day revivals, the Volkswagen Beetle, formerly the New Beetle, formerly the Beetle, formerly the KdF-Wagen, looks to be entering its final model year.

There’s no concrete plan to return it to the lineup at any point in the future, either, despite the tie-dyed dreams of certain wistful VW executives. Maybe this truly is the end.

According to VIN decoder documents submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and uncovered by VW Vortex, the Beetle line adopts ominous-sounding Final Editions for 2019. The same thing occurred in 2010, right before the transition from the annoyingly cheerful New Beetle to the slightly more serious, revamped Beetle. Of course, back then, there was something to look forward to.

Now, as Phil Collins once said, there’s just an empty space.

The Beetle coupe and convertible both see volume SE and higher-trim SEL Final Editions, while the hardtop sees regular base S and midlevel SE models, too. The drop-top doesn’t go in for the S trim level. As before, all Beetles see a 2.0-liter inline-four generating 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic.

It’s not like we weren’t warned the end of the line was fast approaching. VW R&D chief Frank Welch made it crystal clear that the Beetle wouldn’t return after the current generation ran its course, though the brainstorming of some execs kept hope alive. Perhaps an electric Beetle, one mused. Well, maybe a four-door electric Beetle, said another. Sales of the two-door niche model aren’t what they once were, and who’s to say a resurrected electric version based on VW’s I.D. platform would do any better?

VW of America saw 15,166 Beetle sales last year, down from over 43,000 during the first full year of the present-generation’s reign.

[Image: Volkswagen of America]

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21 Comments on “Put the Poncho Away: Volkswagen’s Beetle Sees a ‘Final Edition’ for 2019...”


  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    That’s too bad. These sure are popular with the (young) ladies.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Its really a shame that VW got the body shape right with these, but they lost their nerve in the execution. If they were serious about these bugs, it would’ve used a variant the Boxter/Cayman’s boxer 4 mounted out back. But using a pedestrian fwd setup and not really offering anything performance wise over the GTI means its a trendy retromobile. Not that its a ‘bad’ car as it was in turbo guise…it just could have been SO much more.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Goodbye Herbie.

  • avatar
    James2

    Maybe they’ll keep building ’em in Mexico, like they did with the original.

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      They were all made in Mexico anyway, New Beetle and “New New” Beetle alike. Strangely, although I loathed the New Beetle when it came out (I “greeted” the first one I ever saw with flashing lights and lowered thumb out of my Bug convertible, only to learn that it was Mr Piëch’s personal one, the only one that then existed in Europe), I’m almost (but not quite) going to miss the current one when it’s gone. Especially with the chrome hubcab lookalike wheels like pictured above, it is a cute car.

      I’m willing to bet there’ll be some kind of Electro-Beetle sooner or later, though.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’d still love one of these with a Golf R’s running gear. Ultimate stealth warrior.

  • avatar
    threeer

    As long as there are decent used ones in about four years. It’s the only car my 12-year old daughter recognizes or cares about…just have to make sure it’s a manual trans!

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Haven’t made a MT in a number of years. My sister bought a 2000 new and was thinking of possibly replacing it. With the lack of a manual her 2000 will have to keep going. I couldn’t advise her on possible unique replacements, other than mini (little pricey) or Fiat 500 (will they be around in 10 years?).

  • avatar
    Johnster

    This is sad and the product is definitely attractive. It is too bad that Volkswagen continues to lag behind the (mostly Japanese) competition in terms of reliability. They just can’t seem to get serious about it and get their act together.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Had one as a rental once.
    1000 miles
    Really enjoyed it. Loved the GREAT outward visibility.
    Buy one? I dont know. Label of chick mobile really sticks.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I like the current model, ‘not just for chicks anymore.’

  • avatar
    Funky D

    It is a shame that the demise of the Gen3 Beetle will bring 70 consecutive years of VW convertibles coming to an end as well.

    The 1949 Beetle (first year of importation into the US) featured a convertible, as did every year until the Beetle was withdrawn from the US after the 1979 model year. In 1980, a Rabbit-based convertible appeared and remained on the market (having been renamed the Cabriolet in 1985) until it was replaced by the Golf 3-based Cabrio in 1994. Beetle convertibles reappeared in 2003 and have been sold since.

    It is shame to see it all come to an end. Is it too late to bring back the Eos?

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    It’s a shame they cannot add three-row seating and all-wheel-drive to the Beetle’s styling. That’s all the buying public seems to want these days.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    I think VW missed an opportunity with the second generation Beetle. Smooth out the transitions from body to fenders, smooth the front, put on smaller oval taillights, and revise the interior. The result? We could have had a budget modern Porsche 356.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I already think the profile looks WAY more early Porsche than VW.

      That’s the only reason I’d want one. Good color, baby moon hubcaps like the featured car, and slap small whale tail style spoiler on it.

      Just for $hits and giggles.

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        Yes, the profile is Porsche-like. That’s why I’m suggesting that VW should have gone all the way and finish the job. Put a Porsche badge on it, up the price, and ca-ching! Profit!

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    Meh. I have an ’06 Beetle TDI in my driveway, dumping oil everywhere. It’s on Craigslist for a reason.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    If this is the end of the Beetle, can a retro squareback be created? My sister had an original beetle, but coveted the squareback for its extra room. By moving the engine to a larger FWD space, it could become a true 2-door wagon.

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