Bye-bye Beetle? VW says the retro icon will stick around a bit longer

Ronan Glon/Digital Trends VW Beetle
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends

Earlier this month, the head of Volkswagen R&D caused a bit of a stir when he announced that the VW Beetle will not be replaced and its current generation will be its last. Autocar reported on Frank Welsch’s remarks from the Geneva Motor show that “two or three generations is enough now,” and he also indicated that the VW ID Buzz electric concept would replace the Beetle.

Welsch said the Beetle was “made with history in mind but you can’t do it five times and have a new new new Beetle.”

Not so fast, said the carmaker. In a statement this week to USA Today, VW spokesperson Jeannine Ginivan assured Beetle fans that the iconic vehicle was not being discontinued and would still be available, at least for the near future. Volkswagen launched the New Beetle in 1997, and the latest generation was unveiled in 2011.

With only about 15,000 vehicles delivered last year (down 3.2 percent from the year before) however, the end is probably near for the iconic little bug. Then again, VW has resurrected it once already, so who knows what may happen a few years down the road. It’s currently available as a coupe or convertible, along with the special “Dune” edition.

Volkswagen is hoping the T-Roc convertible, slated for 2020, will take the place of the Beetle convertible, as well as the ragtop versions of the Eos and Golf. VW is also positioning the upcoming ID Buzz as a “heritage” model, with a throwback style reminiscent of the old Microbus. The all-electric vehicle is due in 2021.

There had been rumors that the Beetle would be reborn as a fully electric vehicle, but it seems VW is going in a different direction.

“You can do a bus and be an authentic vehicle with the original shape, and steering wheel mounted like the original,” said Welsch. “You can’t do that with an engine in the front. The shape you see on the concept is realistic.”

“Better to have that than having five generations of a new Beetle,” he added.

The original VW Beetle was first introduced in the United States in 1949 and has endured for decades with only minor modifications. The current generation has been manufactured in Puebla, Mexico since 1997.


Nvidia’s Super GPUs look powerful but could make its lineup a confusing mess

To counter AMD's upcoming RX 5700-series graphics cards, Nvidia may be set to unveil some new, "Super" graphics cards of its own. But new rumors suggest that this could turn the Nvidia GPU line into a confusing mess of names and prices.
Small Business

Disney Plus could have 130 million subscribers by 2024, says analyst

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.

Doom, Deathloop, and everything else from Bethesda's E3 2019 press conference

Bethesda held its fifth annual E3 press conference on June 9. Here is everything the publisher had to announce, including two new IP and new features for its existing lineup of games.

Here’s why BMW mechanics now carry smartglasses in their tool chest

BMW technicians in the United States have started wearing smartglasses, and it's not because they're shooting alien ships between oil changes. They use augmented reality technology to access workshop manuals.

Watch as Volkswagen’s ID R racer wins the ultimate EV bragging rights

The Volkswagen ID R has set a lap record for electric cars at Germany's Nürburgring Nordschleife. The electric race car's lap time of 6 minutes, 5.33 seconds beat the previous record by 40 seconds.
Product Review

The last American midsize plug-in hybrid is being squeezed out of existence

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid can’t catch a break. Ford is planning to discontinue production next year, but looming tariffs could spell doom for an otherwise comfortable and very economically sensible sedan.

Will Detroit be the ultimate test for Argo A.I.’s self-driving Ford?

Ford-backed Argo A.I. revealed its third-generation autonomous prototype in Detroit. Based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the car is fitted with technology that sees better and further, thinks faster, and is more comfortable to ride in.

Tesla screens may support YouTube with next software update

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today at E3 that the infotainment screens will support YouTube video streaming very soon. This most likely lines up with the latest software update that is expected later this year.

Volvo has created an autonomous truck that looks like a sports car

Volvo’s autonomous truck, called Vera, is about to start work at a Swedish port. The vehicle has a modest top speed of 25 mph and features a striking design that makes it look as if the usual cab has been swapped for a sports car.

Florida allows autonomous cars to drive on its roads without human supervision

Florida governor Ron DeSantis passed a law that establishes a legal framework for self-driving cars to operate within the state. It allows car and tech companies to test self-driving cars without a human operator behind the wheel.

New Toyota tech will automatically shut off engines, apply parking brakes

Toyota is launching two new safety features for the 2020 model year. One will automatically shut off a car's engine when stationary, and the other will automatically shift into park and apply the parking brake to prevent rollaways.

Aston Martin will put its Valkyrie hybrid hypercar to the ultimate test

The Aston Martin Valkyrie will race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021. Aston Martin is taking advantage of new rules that encourage automakers to bring their fastest hypercars to the legendary French race.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Florida’s autonomous vehicle law, E3 updates, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we take a look at the biggest trending stories in tech, including Florida allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road, Atari’s new gaming system, E3 updates, high-speed rail, and more.