Earlier in September, Volkswagen officials confirmed that Beetle production will officially crawl to a halt by July 2019. It’s undeniable that this rotund ride has helped shape the auto industry we know today. Join us as we a look in the rearview at the legacy of this lovable bug and follow the twists and turns that turned it into an icon.
The VW Beetle’s history stretches all the way back to the mid 1930s in Germany. First conceived as the “People’s Car,” the Beetle was built to be affordable, seat a family of four and do so in very little space. Putting function over form, designer Ferdinand Porsche threw away convention to craft the vehicles distinct, round shape we know today. World War II soon took its toll, and VW’s factory was converted to military use – squashing the bug for nearly a decade. It wasn’t until the late ‘40s that the British would take control of the factory and, through several strokes of good luck, produce millions in the coming years.
Bringing the Beetle to America
In 1949, the American auto market was dominated by hulking, domestic vehicles – making VW’s Beetle look even more like an insect. Thanks to some clever marketing, the Beetle defied all odds and went on to become a pop culture icon of the ‘60s. By 1972, the Volkswagen Beetle had accomplished the impossible by producing 15 million units and outpacing Ford’s Model T, becoming the most popular vehicle ever made. Unfortunately, that popularity took a turn as other manufacturers caught up to the trend, and the Beetle sedan was officially off the market in the states by 1976.
Reimagined for a New Generation
In 1998, VW gave their little bug it’s first major update. The semicircle-based sedan came with a 115-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and had a small vase in the dashboard in a nod to its flower-power roots. The New Beetle was a hit during its early years, and it soon received several noticeable upgrades throughout the 2000s to stay relevant. However, history repeats itself, and other manufacturers soon capitalized on the “different” market with rides full of even more personality. Fast-forward to present day, and the outcome is finally decided – bye bye bug.
The Final Model
Rather than move on to the next-best thing, Volkswagen intends to send the Beetle off with a bang. The Final Edition Beetle pays tribute to the last iteration of the original, rear-engine Beetle. Buyers of the Final Edition Beetle will be able to opt for a coupe or convertible in either SE or SEL trim levels starting at $23,000. All will come equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder making 174 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed automatic.
As far as the future goes, our resilient bug could very well make another come-back. The brand’s first all-electric car, the I.D, is set to arrive in 2020, and enthusiasts predict we’ll most likely see the Beetle’s next iteration leading the charge on that front.
It’s safe to say the slug bug has made quite an impact in it’s near 100-year run, and we’re excited to see which autos will shake things up next. However, the unexpected isn’t always a good thing, especially when it’s on the road. If bad luck should strike, our collision repair experts are the best in the biz and getting you back on the road. From Beetles to Beamers to everything in between, we’ll always go above and beyond to restore the rhythm of your life.