New York: Volkswagen announced on Thursday that it would end production of its iconic “Beetle” cars in 2019 following 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, saying “never say never.
The Volkswagen Beetle—officially the Volkswagen Type 1, informally in German the Käfer (literally “beetle”), in parts of the English-speaking world the Bug, and known by many other nicknames in other languages—is a two-door, rear-engine economy car, intended for five passengers, that was manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003.
The need for a people’s car (Volkswagen in German), its concept and its functional objectives were formulated by the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for his country’s new road network. Lead engineer Ferdinand Porsche and his team took until 1938 to finalise the design.
Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers starting from 1945 (non-military mass production had been put on hold during the Second World War), when the model was internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the Volkswagen (or “People’s Car”).
In the 1999 Car of the Century competition, to determine the world’s most influential car in the 20th century, the Type 1 came fourth, after the Ford Model T, the Mini, and the Citroën DS. Volkswagen announced to end production of iconic Beetle by 2019.