VW decides to bid the Beetle goodbye
12th Mar 2018 5:00 pm
German carmaker reveals current-gen retro-styled hatchback will be the last; introduces VW ID Buzz electric to replace it as the new heritage model.
Frank Welsch, Volkswagen's R&D boss confirmed that the Beetle will not be replaced and will go out of production after its current generation. The future of the retro-styled Beetle has been in doubt for some time, now. At the Geneva motor show, Welsch announced that the production version of the VW ID Buzz electric concept – which takes cues from the Type 2 Transporter – would take the place of the VW Beetle as a retro-inspired model in the Vokswagen range.
"Two or three generations is enough now" for the Beetle, said Welsch. He said the car was "made with history in mind; but you can't do it five times and have a new new new Beetle".
The Beetle is sold as a coupé and a convertible; and Welsch said that the recently confirmed T-Roc convertible was a replacement for the Beetle cabriolet as much as for the Golf and Eos convertible models. The role of a 'heritage' model in the future for VW would be served by VW's recreation of the Microbus, instead of a Beetle.
"With MEB [the VW Group's electric car platform], you can do a bus and be an authentic vehicle with the original shape, and steering wheel mounted like the original. You can't do that with an engine in the front. The shape you see on the concept is realistic," said Welsch.
"People asked when production starts on the car, so we decided to go that way. Better to have that than having five generations of a new Beetle," he went on to say. "We had all these Microbus concepts in the past but all were front-engined. The physicality of bringing it on MQB or PQ-something to life does not work."
The production version of the ID Buzz is due around 2021-22 and will be based on the Volkswagen Group's new electric platform.
Volkswagen launched the New Beetle internationally in 1997, with its second-generation model following in 2011.