VW is killing off the beloved Beetle after 80 years, a victim of slowing sales as the world switches to SUVs and crossovers, including VW models such as the full-size Atlas, which is produced in Chattanooga.
The 2019 Beetle will be the last. It’s even being called the 2019 Final Edition.
But it’s going out in style, as VW plans a Farewell Tour, bringing a collection of historic Beetles to multiple cities, including an original 1949 model and a rally cross racecar.
The final model features a 2.0 liter engine which delivers 174 horsepower, EPA-rated 26 mpg city/33highway/29 combined, and such safety features as blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert included as standard.
MSRP starts at $20,895.
The final Beetle is inspired by its predecessors, including the dashboard glovebox bin whose lid opens upwards, instead of downwards as in all other makes and models.
VW Beetle was Designed by Ferdinand Porsche
The original Beetle was designed in 1934 by Ferdinand Porsche, at Hitler’s request, for a small, affordable “people’s car” – Volkswagen is the German word for people’s car.
One of the very first models produced is the very first vehicle you see in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.
At the time, it was still known as the Type 1, before it became known as the Beetle.
See my article about Stuttgart and the Porsche Museum for Orbitz
The Beetle became an icon in the 1960s, along with the VW Microbus.
See my article about traveling across North Africa, including Libya in a VW Microbus, on ecoXplorer.
Over the years, more than 21 million Beetles have been produced, more than five million of which have been sold in the USA.
That’s real-life model Heidi Klum with the hot pink car.
The one millionth Beetle produced, in 1955, is covered in rhinestones and on display in a museum pavilion at VW headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.
VW redesigned and re-introduced the familiar shape in 1998 as the New Beetle, and it got another refresh in 2012, the third generation now being killed off.
Will it ever return, as the Fiat 500 has? Who knows.
Remember that Ford killed the Thunderbird, brought it back and killed it again. Ditto the Taurus.
And Dodge did the same thing with the Dart.
Will the death of the VW Beetle help sales of its direct competitors, the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper? Who knows.
Here is the complete statement on the demiseof the VW Beetle, in a press release from Volkswagen:
Herndon, VA (September 13, 2018) — Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced today that it will end production of the iconic Beetle in 2019. To celebrate the Beetle’s rich heritage, two special models will join the lineup for its last model year—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,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
“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. 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.’ We’re excited to kick off a year of celebrating one of the true icons of the automotive world, with a series of events that will culminate in the end of production in Puebla in July 2019.”
Available in coupe and convertible body styles, the Final Edition models include exclusive equipment and unique upscale décor elements designed to send the Beetle off in style. Models also draw inspiration from the first-generation Beetle’s final run in Mexico, where the vehicle is assembled.
The 2003 Última Edición (last edition) models were only available in two colors—beige and light blue. Today’s Final Edition models will feature two unique colors: Safari Uni—a reinvention of Harvest Moon Beige, a color from the New Beetle—and Stonewashed Blue, a nod to the 1970 Jeans Bug and most recently seen on the 2016 Beetle Denim.
Final Edition models are also available in Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, and Platinum Grey. Convertible Final Edition SEL models in every exterior color except Safari Uni are available with a unique Brown soft top.
Final Edition coupe models feature standard chrome treatments like the Última Edición models, in addition to body-color side mirrors, heated washer nozzles (all standard features across the Beetle Convertible lineup), as well as a sunroof. Final Edition SEL models are equipped with Bi-Xenon® headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), LED taillights, and fog lights.
All Final Edition models replace the typical “Turbo” badge on the tailgate with a “Beetle” badge.
Unique wheels complete the exterior transformation of Beetle Final Edition models. Final Edition SE models feature 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a 15-spoke design. Final Edition SEL models are shod with 18-inch white aluminum-alloy wheels in a disc design that is reminiscent of the Última Edición’s body-colored steel wheels fitted with chrome hubcaps and whitewall tires.
Inside, all Final Edition models are equipped with standard KESSY® keyless access with push-button start, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with unique “Beetle” clip, stainless steel pedal caps, Climatronic® automatic climate control, gloss black center console, a unique Safari Uni color dashpad with the classic kaeferfach glovebox or “Beetle bin” that harkens to the color-matched interior treatments in the Última Edición, and three-color ambient lighting. Final Edition SE models feature cloth and leatherette rhombus-pattern seats, while SEL models offer standard diamond-stitched leather seating surfaces.
Final Edition SE models feature a Composition Media infotainment unit with a 6.3-inch capacitive touchscreen display, Bluetooth® technology for compatible devices, USB multimedia port, SiriusXM® radio (three-month trial subscription), Voice Control, and Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect smartphone integration. Final Edition SEL models upgrade to Discover Media infotainment with navigation, Car-Net Security & Service, and Guide & Inform, as well as Fender® Premium Audio.
All 2019 Beetle models, both convertible and coupe, are powered a 2.0 liter TSI® engine that puts out 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. All models are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and the EPA-estimated fuel economy rating is 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined.
To meet the demands of American drivers, all Beetle Final Edition models offer driver-assistance technology. SE models include standard Blind Spot Monitor Rear Traffic Alert. Final Edition SEL models add standard front and rear Park Distance Control.
Pricing for the 2019 Beetle Final Edition coupe starts at $23,045 for SE models and $25,995 for SEL models. Beetle Convertible Final Edition pricing starts at $27,295 for SE models and $29,995 for SEL models. The destination charge for all Beetle models is an additional $895.