This vehicle has been sold on an off in the United States for almost seven decades. But this iconic car may be done being manufactured forever.
Volkswagen has decided to end production of the popular Beetle. The company’s American unit announced on Thursday that it would end global production of the third-generation bug in July of next year. This will be after offering two special editions for sale to the public.
The compact Beetle was introduced in Germany in 1938 during the Nazi era and came to the U.S. 11 years later. The bulbous Beetle became a symbol of utilitarian transportation often used by hippies.
The iconic car sold for about 30 years before U.S. sales stopped in 1979. The last of the original bugs was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in 2003.
Volkswagen revived the iconic car in the U.S. in 1998 as a more modern “New Beetle.” But it seemed to only attract mainly female buyers. The company revamped it for the 2012 model year in an effort to make it appeal to men. They gave it a flatter roof, less bulbous shape, a bigger trunk and a navigation system.
U.S. sales rose five-fold to nearly 29,000 in the first year, but tailed off after that. Last year VW sold only 8,627, according to Autodata Corp.
The special editions will come in coupe and convertible body styles. They will get unique beige and blue colors in addition to the normal hues. They also will have standard extra chrome, new wheels and three-color ambient lighting inside.
Volkswagen does not have immediate plans to revive the Beetle again, but the company wouldn’t rule it out.
“I would say ‘never say never,’” VW of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said in a statement.
The company plans to roll out an electric version of the old VW Bus in 2022 called the I.D. Buzz.