Volkswagen announced on Thursday it would end production of its iconic “Beetle” cars in 2019 after adding a pair of final editions of the insect-inspired vehicles.
The curvy-topped sedans, which shook off Nazi origins to become a global auto phenomenon, are being abandoned as Volkswagen emphasises electric cars and larger family-oriented vehicles.
But company officials however opened the door to reviving the model at some point, alluding to the company’s 2017 decision to unveil a revamped Volkswagen Bus as a possible template.
“As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the US and ramp up our electrification strategy…there are no immediate plans to replace it,” Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America said in a statement.
“But, I would also say, never say never,” he added.
“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,” Woebcken said.
Volkswagen plans to offer the two final edition models in both coupe and convertible styles in nods to earlier versions.
The vehicle’s history goes back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler, who in 1937 formed the state-run Volkswagenwerk, or “The People’s Car Company.”
Sales were however boosted when the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernback in 1959 rechristened the car the “Beetle,” and began touting the vehicle’s small size as an advantage to consumers, according to the History Channel.