Starting in 2019, the iconic Volkswagen Beetle will no longer be produced, as was confirmed by the German automaker last week.
While production will stop in the near future, the long-term future is still up in the air as a resurrection isn’t out of the question.
With Volkswagen having put a recent emphasis on SUVs and new electric cars, the Beetle’s future was speculated for months as Americans no longer favored the iconic body style.
“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” Volkswagen United States CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken said in a statement.
The last version of the car will be offered in two models – the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL. The car first debuted in the U.S. in 1949.
Under new CEO Herbert Diess, Volkswagen is facing pressure from investors to bolster its profitability.
“As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it,” Woebcken said. “But as we have seen with the I.D. Buzz – which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus – I would also say, ‘Never say never.’ ”
In 2017, 15,166 Beetle models were sold in the U.S., which was a 3.2 percent decrease. The sales of passenger cars have plunged across the U.S. in recent years with the preferences of Americans shifting to larger vehicles.
“In this environment the business case for cars in general, and small cars in particular, becomes increasingly difficult to justify,” wrote Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. “Anyone surprised or disappointed by this announcement better prepare themselves. In the months to come more automakers will be announcing more iconic model cancellations.”
The 2019 Beetle versions will be coupe, starting at $23,045, and convertible, starting at $27,295.
Each will be powered by a two-liter gas engine with 174 horsepower, a six-speed automatic transition and average fuel economy of 29 miles per gallon.