A vintage VW Beetle (Photo: Dreamstime)

Volkswagen To Stop Making Iconic Beetle Next Summer

September 13, 2018 - 5:15 pm

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Volkswagen says it will stop making its iconic Beetle.

Volkswagen of America on Thursday announced the end of production of the third-generation Beetle by introducing two special edition 2019 models before the final little car rolls off the assembly line in July of next year.

The Beetle was developed in Nazi Germany in 1938, arriving in the U.S. 11 years later where the compact sold for about 30 years before production ceased.

"Remember, this was the new Bettle; the original went away long ago," WWJ AutoBeat reporter Jeff Gilbert said. "The new one paying homage with classic styling and modern underpinnings."

Then that 1998 version was revamped yet again for the 2012 model year, in an effort to help it attract more male buyers -- with a flatter roof, less bulbous shape, a bigger trunk and a navigation system.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle
A 2012 Volkswagen Beetle (Photo: Dreamstime)

Although there are no plans to do so at this time, Volkswagen of America said it couldn't rule out bringing the Beetle back in the future. 

Kelley Blue Book analyst Rebecca Lindland said she wouldn't be surprised to see the bug return, sometime down the line.

"I think that you can never say never with Volkswagon. One of the things, if you think about the silhouette of the Beetle, it's incredibly charming," Lindland said, noting that not many retro cars stick around for two decades.

"The Bettle's time has expired. I think it's an appropriate decision to make; it's sad, but it's appropriate," Lindland said. "A 20-year tun is fantastic. It's really a victim of many things; not only Volkswagon's strategy to streamline its products, but also of course the move away from sedans and cars."

With more Americans buying more SUVs, Volkswagon needs more places to build them, Gilbert said. At the same time, the automaker is introducing several electric vehicles, including one with the styling of the original VW Microbus.

Volkswagen only sold 15,000 Beetles last year. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.