Volkswagen to end iconic 'Beetle' cars in 2019

By AFP | 14 September 2018


WOLFSBURG: Volkswagen announced Thursday it would end production of its iconic "Beetle" cars in 2019 after adding a pair of final editions of the insect-inspired vehicles.

The move comes as Volkswagen emphasises electric autos and larger family-oriented vehicles, said Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America.

But Woebcken opened the door to reviving the model at some point, alluding to the company's 2017 decision to unveil a revamped Volkswagen Bus as a possible template.

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"Never say never," he said in a statement.

Volkswagen plans to offer the two final edition models in both coupe and convertible styles (as shown here). The cars will include nods to earlier versions and be priced at US$23,045 (RM96,000) and up, the company said.

"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.

The sedans made their US debut in the 1950s and were popularised with the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug."

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US sales ceased in 1979, but the vehicle continued to be produced in Mexico and Brazil, according to Car and Driver. VW revived the "New Beetle" in the US 1997.

However, the vehicle's history goes back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler.

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About the Beetle Final Edition

Available in coupe and convertible body styles, the Final Edition models include exclusive equipment and unique upscale décor elements designed to send the Beetle off in style. Models also draw inspiration from the first-generation Beetle’s final run in Mexico, where the vehicle is assembled.

The 2003 Última Edición (last edition) models were only available in two colors—beige and light blue. Today’s Final Edition models will feature two unique colours: Safari Uni—a reinvention of Harvest Moon Beige, a colour from the New Beetle—and Stonewashed Blue, a nod to the 1970 Jeans Bug and most recently seen on the 2016 Beetle Denim. Final Edition models are also available in Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, and Platinum Grey. Convertible Final Edition SEL models in every exterior colour except Safari Uni are available with a unique Brown soft top.

Final Edition coupe models feature standard chrome treatments like the Última Edición models, in addition to body-colour side mirrors, heated washer nozzles (all standard features across the Beetle Convertible lineup), as well as a sunroof. Final Edition SEL models are equipped with Bi-Xenon headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), LED taillights, and fog lights. All Final Edition models replace the typical “Turbo” badge on the tailgate with a “Beetle” badge.

Unique wheels complete the exterior transformation of Beetle Final Edition models. Final Edition SE models feature 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a 15-spoke design. Final Edition SEL models are shod with 18-inch white aluminum-alloy wheels in a disc design that is reminiscent of the Última Edición’s body-coloured steel wheels fitted with chrome hubcaps and whitewall tyres.

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Inside, all Final Edition models are equipped with standard KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with unique “Beetle” clip, stainless steel pedal caps, Climatronic automatic climate control, gloss black centre console, a unique Safari Uni color dashpad with the classic kaeferfach glovebox or “Beetle bin” that harkens to the color-matched interior treatments in the Última Edición, and three-colour ambient lighting.

Final Edition SE models feature cloth and leatherette rhombus-pattern seats, while SEL models offer standard diamond-stitched leather seating surfaces.

Final Edition SE models feature a Composition Media infotainment unit with a 6.3-inch capacitive touchscreen display, Bluetooth technology for compatible devices, USB multimedia port, SiriusXM radio (three-month trial subscription), Voice Control, and Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect smartphone integration. Final Edition SEL models upgrade to Discover Media infotainment with navigation, Car-Net Security & Service, and Guide & Inform, as well as Fender Premium Audio.

All 2019 Beetle models, both convertible and coupe, are powered a 2.0 litre TSI engine that puts out 174 horsepower and 250Nm of torque. All models are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

To meet the demands of American drivers, all Beetle Final Edition models offer driver-assistance technology. SE models include standard Blind Spot Monitor Rear Traffic Alert. Final Edition SEL models add standard front and rear Park Distance Control.

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