Faltering sales of the model and focus on shift to newer technologies are cited as keys reasons for the German automaker to discontinue the second innings of its ubiquitous Beetle.
The closing chapter of the Beetle comes at a time for Volkswagen when the automaker’s last three years have been rocked by scandals caused by its admitted cheating on diesel emissions tests. Now, Volkswagen is gearing up to launch a wave of electric vehicles to appeal to a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers – children and grandchildren of the original 1960s Beetle enthusiasts.
In a statement announcing the end of the Beetle, Hinrich Woebcken, head of Volkswagen of America, said that as the company ramps up its electrification strategy, there are no plans to replace the Beetle.
The first Beetles rolled off German production lines in 1938. It soon established itself as a product which was initially identified with Adolf Hitler to a symbol of Germany’s rebirth as a democratic, industrial powerhouse after World War II. Their increasing popularity in the US in the 1960s prompted Volkswagen to build its first overseas manufacturing plant in Americas.
Volkswagen discontinued U.S. sales of the “bug” in 1979, but continued production for Mexico and Latin America. The plant located in Mexico is expected to make its last Beetle in July 2019.
The company said two special Beetle models will signify the sign off — Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL.