Could Volkswagen Kill the Beetle?

VW_Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle has a long history in the United States, and an even longer past in the rest of the world.

It’s a history that begins in the 1930s and includes Adolf Hitler, Ferdinand Porsche, and an entire country of people who flocked to purchase the new and inexpensive car built for the German autobahn.

Originally called the Volkswagen Type 1, the Beetle was manufactured from 1938 until 2003 and thrived in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s. More than 21 million cars were made before worldwide production ended in 2003.

A modern version of the VW Beetle still zips around U.S. roads, but its days may be numbered.

A report circulating this week says the Beetle may be cut as a way for Volkswagen to save money and introduce new models.

In the first two months of 2015, Volkswagen sold 3,291 Beetles, down 30 percent from the 4,735 sold during the same period last year. This could be an indication that folks have finally grown tired of the Beetle and that its demise is imminent.

You can be sure that if sales of the Beetle were up near Jetta levels, about 11,000 vehicles per month, this rumor wouldn’t be out there. The thing is, the Beetle isn’t even the slowest selling Volkswagen in the lineup. The Touareg and CC both average fewer than 500 units per month, yet VW keeps them around. So why squash the Beetle?

It all comes down to profits. Volkswagen wants to also drop its two-door Polo model in Europe because it doesn’t fit into the architecture planned for coming models. The Beetle could be a part of that move.

Reviews of the Beetle are generally good, especially the 2014 and 2015 models, and owners tend to easily fall in love with their cars. The days of the slow, temperamental, cold, and musty Beetle are long gone but even in new form the highly adored car may have reached the end of its lifespan.

How would you feel if Volkswagen discontinued the Beetle?

-tgriffith

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2 Comments

  1. I am part of a group of avid modern-day Beetle enthusiasts. I look at the water-cooled Beetles as a much-improved version of the original air-cooled models, but I’m learning fast that that people like me are in the minority. It’s really sad and puzzling that the New Beetles and current Beetles of 2012 onward have both failed to score as significantly as the original models, especially since Mini Coopers and now Fiat 500s are gaining popularity and selling in higher numbers when neither of those models were even initially sold in the US. I don’t get it at all……

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