Ding Dong, The Bug Is Dead (for now)

Spectre

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https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a28339984/end-of-volkswagen-beetle-production/

The Very Last Volkswagen Beetle Rolls off the Production Line

Progress kills Bugs dead: Production of the Beetle has really, truly finally ended with a Denim Blue model built in Mexico.

This is finally the end of the road for the long-serving Volkswagen Beetle as the very last third-generation model rolled off the production line in Mexico today, having sold more than 1.7 million copies worldwide since its debut in 1998.
But, as everyone knows, the Beetle dates back many decades earlier to a less than auspicious debut as the brainchild of Adolf Hitler, who wished for a "people's car" that could have the same societal influence on Germany that Henry Ford's Model T did in the States. The original Beetle, a.k.a. Type 1, survived long past its logical expiration date. Cheap, efficient, instantly recognizable, and yet somehow enigmatic, the original air-cooled Beetle transcended its initial purpose, and, like the classic Willys Jeep, the Fender Stratocaster, and the Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker, it evolved into a cultural icon despite, or possibly because of, its inherent drawbacks. It saw a couple of significant updates and numerous running changes along its 65-year run, but production of the Type 1 lasted until 2003, with the last model rolling off the line at the same Mexico plant where the third-gen modern Beetle ended its run today.

Although the air-cooled Beetle disappeared from the U.S. market in the late 1970s for a multitude of reasons, it seemed at the time that a new Beetle was inevitable; we just didn't think it would take until 1998 to get one. After several years of rumors and teasers, the New Beetle arrived just as an entire generation of buyers of growing affluence realized they were suffering from a debilitating case of nostalgia. Anxious to identify with the cultural touchstones of the past, they flocked to the New Beetle, which provided all the warm and fuzzy memories without triggering the nightmares inherent of its ancestor, a vehicle powered by a 40-hp 1.2-liter engine that could barely maintain 60 mph on an incline.

When it came, the New Beetle was dramatically improved in nearly every metric: ride; comfort; noise, vibration, and harshness; and reliability—well, for Volkswagen of the late '90s, anyhow—and modern conveniences such as air conditioning and an automatic transmission. But those who stuck around long enough to get past the cute factor discovered that for the period, the New Beetle was a pretty darn good car, too. Did anyone care that the water-cooled engine was in the front? Maybe, but progress has a cost, and if the car could be made safer and more practical to produce, only the most hard-core devotes seemed disappointed.
Not long after its launch, Volkswagen began utilizing the Beetle as a palette for experimentation, creating convertibles and a turbocharged version, numerous special editions including a Barbie Beetle, a Denim Edition, and the Beetle Dune, among many other special editions and one-off concepts. The last major redesign came with the 2012 model year, when VW attempted to add an air of masculinity to the design and dropped the "New" from its name, simply calling it the "Beetle." This also marks the point where the entire production of all third-gen Beetles was shifted to the Puebla facility, although the cars were shipped to 91 markets worldwide.
Although we're sad to see the Beetle—new, old, or otherwise—fade off into the golden-hued sunset, Volkswagen isn't finished mining its past for future product. Just two years ago Volkswagen confirmed the I.D. Buzz for production, signaling the next wave of forward-facing vehicles with a foot in the past. A modern interpretation of the classic Microbus, the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz electric vehicle is a high-tech tour de force, and it's scheduled to hit showrooms in 2022.
The good news: They FINALLY killed off the "MOAR AGGRESSIVE" New New Beetle. Good riddance.
The bad news: They're going to replace it with a new interpretation of the Hippie Bus. BOOOOOOOO.
 

prizrak

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Meh it’s gonna be an electric toy thing for nostalgic boomers, I doubt it’s something we are likely to see much
 

Spectre

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Meh it’s gonna be an electric toy thing for nostalgic boomers, I doubt it’s something we are likely to see much
One reason they had to discontinue the Beetle is because the Boomers who were going to buy it were aging out of the buying pool/couldn't drive any more. So, they're going to try to market to the same diminishing group??? Whatever genius came up with that idea needs to be fired.
 

prizrak

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One reason they had to discontinue the Beetle is because the Boomers who were going to buy it were aging out of the buying pool/couldn't drive any more. So, they're going to try to market to the same diminishing group??? Whatever genius came up with that idea needs to be fired.
It’s VW they are idiots
 

argatoga

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The problem with the Beetle and other retro cars of its ilk, is that you can't do much with styling. If Mary's new fancy Beetle looks like Gertha's 10 year old clunker next door, what's the point?

That and as Spectre said, those who have a historic emotional attachment to the thing are either withered hippies or skin heads, neither of which are a market worth investing in.
 

Spectre

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The problem with the Beetle and other retro cars of its ilk, is that you can't do much with styling. If Mary's new fancy Beetle looks like Gertha's 10 year old clunker next door, what's the point?
I would take that one step further - the Beetle's problem was that its entire selling point was RETRO RETRO RETRO RETRO. It didn't have a compelling reason to buy it other than RETRO. If you wanted basically the same car with better performance and/or no retro, the GTI was sitting right there on the floor next to it - and VW would have been complete idiots if they had made the Beetle a better performer than a GTI, so they were already screwed right there.

You can sell a retro car quite successfully - if you emphasize the 'car' part over the retro. The Miata is the perfect example of this; the first gen was certainly very retro as it looked very much like a number of Little British Cars that had been popular decades previously - but retro wasn't the only thing it offered. It offered modern sports car handling prowess and driving fun in a retro shell; in fact, they sold it as a modern sports car that just happened to look retro - more or less. The Beetle offered a Golf (a commuter box to start with) with worse performance in a retro shell that sacrificed practicality, efficiency and pretty much everything else you'd buy a modern commuter car for on the altar of retro.

Or put another way: If you wanted a handling specialist at a good price that could double as a commuter but didn't care one whit for retro, you bought a Miata. If you wanted a German commuter box but didn't care about retro... you didn't buy a Beetle. You bought a Golf.
 

prizrak

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You can sell a retro car quite successfully
Just look at the s197 ;)

I basically agree with Spectre, you can do retro styling and make it look modern but you have to give the car something else that would make it worth buying.

EDIT: Also if you are going to retro anything it should be something that already looked good and you can easily modernize the lines a bit while keeping the recognizable styling cues. Beetle was never anything but a cheap beater, and wasn’t particularly good looking.
 
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