Volkswagen Iconic Beetle ‘Dead’ At 80 Years Old: Final Series To Be Release In 2019
Volkswagen of America announced on Sept. 13 that it will end the production of the iconic Beetle in 2019. To give the "People's Car" a goodbye it deserved, the company will roll out convertible final model series, the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL.
The first Beetles officially rolled out in the market in 1938 but entered mass production after World War II. The car was conceptualized early in the 1930's when engineer Ferdinand Porsche recognized the need to build a "People's Car" or "Volkswagen" in German.
The adorable car debuted in North America in 1949 and became popular ever since. By the 1960's, because of the car's popularity in the United States, Volkswagen had its first manufacturing plant in the region. The "People's Car" reached the peak of fame in the United States after the Walt Disney's film "The Love Bug" where Herbie, a Beetle car, participated for a racing event in California.
Hinrich Woebcken, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., recognized that "death" of the well-loved Beetle series after three generations will evoke a rollercoaster of emotions from the fans of the iconic car. The CEO said the company will forward and transition to being a family-focused automaker in the United States.
Instead of a sad goodbye, the CEO would like to think of the release of the Final Edition series as a celebration. There will be a host of events that will celebrate Beetle between now and the end of production for the Volkswagen Final Edition series in Puebla in July 2019.
This is actually not the first time that fans would say goodbye to a Beetle car. The very first versions of Beetle, which were painted with colorful designs during the flower power era, ended production in Mexico in 2003. This time, however, there will be no subsequent generations to be released.
Volkswagen had also released last edition models of the original Beetle in 2003. The units were only available in beige and light blue.
For the convertible Final Edition series, it will be available in Sarafi Uni and Stonewashed Blue colors. The latter drew inspirations from the 1970 Jeans Bug and the 2016 Beetle Denim. Other colors will be Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, and Platinum Grey.
Karl Brauer, the executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, told CNN that Volkswagen suffered a decrease in sales when consumers shifted preference towards bigger SUVs and other bigger car models. Brauer said Volkswagen was compelled to let its iconic model die rather than fight market trends like how Ford's Mustang, Dodge's Challenger, and Chevrolet's Camaro addressed the challenge.
The carmaker only sold 15,000 Beetles in the United States in 2017.
John Wolkonowicz, an auto analyst, told the Los Angeles Times, that the younger generation has also pushed the death of the iconic car. He explained that the model mostly appealed to the middle-aged women but the youth could no longer appreciate the design.
Wolkonowicz said the nostalgia for the '60 is now going away because the baby boomers are already old. Many of them would now prefer spacious cars for more comfortable body movements when traveling.
Nevertheless, Woebcken remains optimistic that the iconic car will find its way back again into the hearts of the new generation just like in the case of the Volkswagen Bus which transformed into the I.D. BUZZ.
For the fans of the Beetle, Woebcken has this to say: "Never say never."