It's the end of an era. Volkswagen has announced that they will put a stop on production for the Beetle in 2019. The car that sparked the 1960s counterculture, will likely be reborn in an electric avatar in the future but for the immediate circumstance will be taken off the line. The Beetle has had an extraordinary journey, designed in part by Adolf Hitler himself as a car for the people, became a symbol of Germany’s rebirth as a democratic, industrial powerhouse after World War Two. Baby boomers, loved the car, even in the US where any symbols of the Reich were ousted and hated, the bug still became the face of the counterculture that ruled the 60s.
In the 1990s the Beetle got its first makeover, led by then-Chief Executive Ferdinand Piech who wanted to revive and modernize the Beetle, which was pioneered by his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche. The Crescent shape of the Beetle emerged at this point under the name the “new Beetle” which had features like built-in flower vase as a throwback to the swinging 60s that made the Beetle a superstar. Back in the day, the “New Beetle” captured the minds and imaginations of the US audience with over 80,000 cars flying out of showrooms in 1999 itself. However, in today's’ scenario the US small car market is withering with most looking to more practical Jettas or Tiguans with the Beetle being widely overlooked. After selling a total of 5 lakh Beetles globally in 1998, has finally decided to pull the plug on the iconic car.
The end of the Beetles life comes at a time of purge for VW following a fall out period when following the diesel emissions scandal that rocked the company and cost them billions of dollars in fines. The change in direction for VW will be pioneered by a wave of electric vehicles to appeal to a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers - children and grandchildren of the 1960s Beetle enthusiasts. The ethos is likely to be the same but they will be driven with greener electric motors. The Beetle will, however, go out with a final hoorah in the form of a two special editions Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL - in the United States and would offer the driver-assistance technology.