The Volkswagen Beetle has been sold in the U.S. for nearly seven decades, but production will end in 2019.
The Bug has been squashed.
Volkswagen confirmed Thursday that it will end production of the Beetle in 2019, though it hinted that the car could one day be revived.
The future of the iconic Beetle had been a subject of speculation for months.
The German automaker has shifted its emphasis to SUVs and a range of still-to-come new electric cars under the I.D. nameplate.
The Beetle had fallen out of favor among American consumers despite its iconic body style.
The last version will be offered in two special models: the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL.
“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,” VW U.S. CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken said in a statement.
Could the Beetle eventually find new life once again? Woebcken hinted it’s possible.
“As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it,” he said. “But as we have seen with the I.D. Buzz—which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus—I would also say, ‘Never say never.’”
VW sold 15,166 Beetle models in the U.S. in 2017, down 3.2%. The current generation model has been in production in Puebla, Mexico, since 1997, VW said.
The car first hit the U.S. in 1949.
Passenger car sales have been plunging in the U.S. in recent years as American preferences shift to larger vehicles.
“In this environment the business case for cars in general, and small cars in particular, becomes increasingly difficult to justify, wrote Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. “Anyone surprised or disappointed by this announcement better prepare themselves. In the months to come more automakers will be announcing more iconic model cancellations.”
The 2019 Beetle will include convertible and coupe versions, each powered by 2-liter gas engines with 174 horsepower, a six-speed automatic transmission and average fuel economy of 29 miles per gallon.
Pricing starts at $23,045 for the coupe and $27,295 for the convertible.
VW is under pressure from investors to bolster its profitability under new CEO Herbert Diess.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2xeZ15F