Volkswagen to kill the Beetle in 2019 as car sales plunge

Classic Beetles have been used in racing competitions around the world

The company's American unit announced Thursday that it would end global production of the third-generation bulbous bug in July next year after offering two special editions for sale.

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

There is reason to believe that "history" VW Beetle will not end. The first convertible Beetle was... With production slated to wind down next year, the German automaker has showcased the "Final Edition" of the compact auto in the United States.

Volkswagen sold roughly 15,000 Beetles in U.S. in 2017, a signal of its diminishing audience.

The 2019 Beetle Final Edition coupe starts at $23,045 for SE models or $25,995 for SEL models, while the Beetle Convertible Final Edition starts at $27,295 for SE models and $29,995 for SEL models. It was first developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler, who in 1937 formed the state-run Volkswagenwerk, or "The People's Car Company". Demand for the Beetle and other hatchbacks like the Golf has come under pressure as customer appetite has shifted toward sport utility vehicles.

Volkswagen, in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal and huge investment in electric vehicles, says it will look to slim down its model range with a greater focus on family and electric cars.


Available in the U.S. in coupé and convertible body styles, the Final Edition models feature additional standard equipment and what VW describes as "unique upscale décor elements created to send the Beetle off in style". In the case of Volkswagen, that's the Atlas and Tiguan, which now rank among its best-selling vehicles in the Canadian and USA markets, while the Beetle ranks near the bottom.

Overall, VW has sold about 500,000 Beetles globally since 1998, the company said.

Diess has explored reviving the Beetle, which starred as Herbie in the 1968 Disney movie, "The Love Bug", as an electric vehicle to tap into the car's cachet in popular culture.

After selling it on and off in the U.S. for almost seven decades, Volkswagen has chose to end global production of its iconic Beetle from July 2019.

But Mr Woebcken didn't completely rule out that the model could one day be resurrected: "Never say never".

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