A few weeks ago, industry rumors claimed that Volkswagen had decided to kill the Beetle after the current model’s production run in a bid to save money by reducing the amount of parts it needs to build each year.
Speaking on the sidelines of the New York Motor Show, Volkswagen executive Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser shot down the rumors and announced that the next-gen Beetle will be introduced in 2018 at the very latest, indicating that development work is already under way in Wolfsburg.
Neusser confirmed that the next Beetle will ride on Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform, a move that will allow it to weigh considerably less than the current model. It will remain one of Volkswagen’s most evocative models but it will adopt a new design language that will be noticeably more emotional and more dynamic. That said, the bulk of the heritage-laced styling cues that have characterized Volkswagen’s reborn Beetle since its launch in 1998 will be found on the new car.
The executive also pointed out that building the Beetle on the MQB platform will make it possible for the retro-inspired icon to go electric, though he did not specify whether it will get a plug-in hybrid drivetrain or a full electric drivetrain. Buyers who prefer to burn strictly dino juice will be able to order the next Beetle with three- and four-cylinder gasoline- and diesel-burning engines sourced directly from the Volkswagen parts bin.
Additional details about the next Volkswagen Beetle will emerge over the coming months. If it’s introduced in 2018, it will most likely go on sale across the nation in time for the 2019 model year.
Volkswagen has discreetly confirmed plans to build the Beetle Dune concept (pictured) that was presented at last year’s Detroit Motor show. Like the show car, the production model will get a rugged, allroad-like look with plastic trim over the wheel arches and the rocker panels, more aggressive bumpers on both ends and a slightly raised ground clearance.