Say goodbye to the most iconic car ever made, the Volkswagen Beetle.
A representative from the German automaker told a reporter from the publication Autocar during the Geneva Motor Show that it plans to stop production of the vehicle at the end of its current generation.
Frank Welsch, the carmaker’s research and development leader, said, “two or three generations is enough now.”
But the Beetle’s sales have waned in recent years, with reports the carmaker’s engineers have lost enthusiasm for the vehicle. It was originally known as the “people car’s” when it was first commissioned in Germany by Adolph Hitler.
The Beetle’s ominous beginning couldn’t have changed more dramatically. In the 1960s, the weird little machine became a symbol of the Hippie movement. It’s all part of the car’s improbable legacy.
The Beetle’s design through the years has changed. But its origins have remained. It features a high, severely rounded roofline, protruding fenders, distinct lights and overall bulbousness. It’s now 73 years old.
Officially called the Volkswagen Type 1, the Beetle was mass produced from 1945-1979. The second-generation “New Beetle” ran from 1997-2011. It was revamped and redesigned again for the 2012 model year.
As previously announced, Volkswagen plans to focus on several new models that will replace the Beetle. The two-door T-Roc cabriolet crossover, planned for 2020, will succeed the Beetle’s convertible duties.
The carmaker’s homage to its heritage with the Beetle and equally icon VW van, is the I.D. Buzz. It’s VW revival of the manufacturer’s microbus and is scheduled to debut in the United States in 2022.
Volkswagen’s changing focus was reiterated at the Geneva Motor Show by the carmaker CEO, Huber Diess
“Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand,” said Diess, according to a report in Autoweek.
Article Last Updated: March 18, 2018.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.