Volkswagen is trying to figure out what to do with their Beetle. While one of the lower-selling vehicles in their lineup, it seems that there’s a strong emotional attachment to what’s probably their most recognizable vehicle.
Originally introduced in Germany in 1938, the Beetle was the ultimate people’s car. Cheap and mass produced, Volkswagen manufactured the car with the inout of Ferdinand Porsche (good) at the behest of Adolf Hitler (decidedly less good.)
The focus on being economical all but guaranteed that build quality and reliability, to say nothing of convenience and power, were an afterthought. It’s ubiquity, however, earned it a place in automotive history.
VW reintroduced the Beetle in 1997. Based on the Golf’s platform, the Nu-Beetle was a bulbous, front-engine/front-drive caricature that still managed a devoted fan-base thanks to the intoxicating spell of nostalgia.
To help combat the perception that it was too feminine, VW redesigned the Beetle for 2011 by adding a hyper-masculine flatter roof, that just drips testosterone or whatever. Needless to say, that didn’t really change people’s opinions.
Going forward, Volkswagen are looking at a dramatic overhaul of the automotive icon. Talk suggests that they’ll be moving it to a rear-engine, electronic drive platform (based on their modular MEB powertrain.)
No official word has been released, but with the push toward electrification across the entire auto industry, as well as the surprisingly resilient interest in the little Bug, it wouldn’t be surprising to have an EVW Beetle humming down the highway in the near future.