Volkswagen will end production of its iconic “Beetle” cars in 2019. Announcing the decision, the company said it would stop production of the curvy-topped sedans after adding a pair of final editions.
The decision stems from Volkswagen’s emphasis on electric cars and larger family-oriented vehicles.
“As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the US and ramp up our electrification strategy…there are no immediate plans to replace it,” Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America said in a statement.
“But, I would also say, never say never,” he added.
“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,” Woebcken said.
Volkswagen plans to offer the two final edition models in both coupe and convertible styles. The cars will include nods to earlier versions and be priced at $23,045 and up, said the company.
The insect-inspired vehicle has a long history going back to the Nazi era. 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.”
The sedans were launched in the US market in the 1950s but could not pick up sales, partly due to the company’s Nazi origins.
In 1959, advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernback rechristened the car calling it Beetle, and marketed its small size as an advantage to consumers, according to a History Channel show.
The 1968 Disney movie, The Love Bug, featured the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own, giving the car a lot of popularity.
(With agency inputs)