The future of the niche Volkswagen Beetle has been murky for some time now, with rumors of its demise swirling since last year. Now, comments from a VW board member further fuel speculation that the Beetle, along with the not-for-U.S. Scirocco two-door hatch, won't see a new generation.
The comments come from Volkswagen brand board member Arno Antlitz, who was asked about replacements for the Beetle and Scirocco, which are both based on older platforms but were expected to move to the modular MQB architecture eventually. In response, Antlitz said, "The Beetle and Scirocco are representatives of an emotional and appealing class of vehicles, but it [VW product planning] is not always about continuing cars from one generation to the next."
Autocar reports only the hardtop Beetle is expected to get the axe, as the convertible still sells well in Europe. If true, the cuts would be in line with what we heard last year about VW Group axing as many as 40 models across its brands to focus on electric vehicles and autonomy and cut costs in the wake of Dieselgate. However, we also heard recently that the Beetle itself might go electric. The I.D. Buzz concept that debuted in Detroit this year showed that the skateboard-like MEB platform can accommodate a wide range of body styles. Volkswagen has promised to launch 30 new electric models by 2025, so killing the current model and resurrecting the nameplate a few years later as an EV could fit into its plans. Let's just hope it doesn't come back as the New, New Beetle.