Volkswagen has officially confirmed the impending death of the Beetle, announcing that it will end production of the third-generation model at its Puebla, Mexico plant in July 2019. Despite saying there are “no immediate plans” to replace the Beetle, the brand hinted that the nameplate could later return.
VW revived the Beetle nameplate back in 1997, before moving on to the current generation in 2011.
Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, announced that VW would “celebrate the Beetle’s rich heritage” with the launch of two special models (the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL) for that market.
“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,” said Woebcken.
“As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the US and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it. But as we have seen with the ID Buzz – which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus – I would also say, ‘never say never’.”
Available in the US in coupé and convertible body styles, the Final Edition models feature additional standard equipment and what VW describes as “unique upscale décor elements designed to send the Beetle off in style”.
The models also draw inspiration from the first-generation Beetle’s final run. While these vehicles were available only in beige and light blue, the latest Final Edition models are offered in two similar hues (Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue), as well as three other colours.
All 2019 Beetle models are powered VW’s familiar 2,0-litre TSI engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
In South Africa, the Beetle has already effectively been discontinued, although the limited-edition R-Line derivative (50 were brought in more than a year ago) is still listed on the brand’s local website.