Volkswagen to discontinue Beetle, Final Edition set for 2019

Classic Beetles have been used in racing competitions around the world

It probably shouldn't come as a huge surprise, as a 53-unit Final Edition was produced for Australia as long ago as 2016 to end sales of the Beetle there.

Passenger auto sales have been plunging in the recent years as American preferences shift to larger vehicles. Demand for the Beetle and other hatchbacks like the Golf has come under pressure as customer appetite has shifted toward sport utility vehicles.

The company said two special Beetle models will join the final lineup - Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL - in the United States and would offer the driver-assistance technology.

It was in 1938 that the Volkswagen Type 1, more commonly referred to as the Beetle, or "Käfer" in its home market of Germany, first rolled off the line.

Design work on what would be the Beetle began in the 1930s after Hitler had ordered that a Volks Wagen (German for people's car) be built that was affordable for all Germans.

The interior also had some changes compared to the regular model along with special badges.

Volkswagen sold 11,151 Beetles during the first eight months of 2018, down 2.2% from the same period a year earlier.

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Volkswagen revived it 1998 as a more modern "New Beetle", but it attracted mainly female buyers.

The company is not leaving behind all of its well-known older models.

The Beetle comes with lots of features like a touch-screen infotainment system, leather seats, cruise control, automatic headlamps and more.

Frank Welsch, Volkswagen R&D boss, previous year told Autocar you can't have a "new, new, new Beetle" and, instead, "two or three generations is enough now".

The Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition from L.A is finished in a new Aquarius Blue colour along with the option of a hard roof in black colour or a soft top in black colour.

But Woebcken opened the door to reviving the model at some point, alluding to the company's 2017 decision to unveil a revamped Volkswagen Bus as a possible template. The carmaker says it will focus on more popular areas such as SUVs and electric vehicles.

When asked if the Beetle will ever be resurrected, Woebcken said, "Never say never".


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