Volkswagen announced on Thursday it would stop producing its Beetle compact car globally in 2019 as the automaker prepares for a leap toward a future of mass-market electric cars.
The VW Beetle and the VW minibus became symbols of the small-is-beautiful esthetic of many in the post-war baby boom and the crescent shaped car was revived with the “New Beetle” of the late 1990s, which featured a built-in flower vase.
The New Beetle was a hit during its early years, with sales of more than 80,000 cars in the United States in 1999. More recently the car’s U.S. sales have suffered along with most other small cars.
Volkswagen sold 11,151 total Beetles through the first eight months of 2018, down 2.2 per cent from the same period a year earlier. U.S. consumers looking for a small Volkswagen vehicle overwhelmingly prefer the Jetta sedan, or a Tiguan compact sport utility vehicle.
“As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it,” Volkswagen Group of America chief executive officer Hinrich Woebcken said in a statement.
The company said two special models will be part of the final lineup — Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL — in the U.S. and would offer driver-assistance technology.