To (mis)quote Mark Twain: the rumors of the Volkswagen Beetle’s demise are greatly exaggerated.
Earlier this year, several reports stated that Volkswagen may be considering discontinuing the Beetle after the current model reaches the end of its lifecycle. The move would see the discontinuation of the longest-running nameplate in automotive history, while also shunning quite a few Beetle buyers, and resulting sales. That’s why we’re delighted to report that this is not the case.
The Beetle is “iconic and has a historical background. We think we can do much more with this car”, Volkswagen board member responsible for development, Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser told MotorTrend in April.
As it turns out, lifestyle products like the Beetle will play a growing role in Volkswagen’s future, and mark a shift in the way the automaker approaches the U.S. market, according to vice president, product marketing and strategy for Volkswagen of America, Joerg Sommer. They are “lifestyle cars”, whose numerous market-specific variants (as per below) are designed for the U.S.
The brand will first start by bringing three new Beetle variants to market, including the dune buggy-inspired Beetle Dune, the Globally Rallycross-inspired Beetle R-Line, and the jeans-wearing Beetle Convertible denim. The lifted Beetle Dune is nearing production, while the latter two will both arrive sometime over the next year.
The Motrolix Take
We like VW’s new lifestyle vehicle approach, especially for the Beetle. In fact, the Beetle is the poster child for lifestyle vehicles simply because no one truly “needs” to buy a vehicle like the Beetle (as opposed to a vehicle like the Golf, Jetta, or Passat). Thus, the Beetle is a purchase that’s more emotional and lifestyle-focused, and VW’s approach of offering various variants are great.