VW Beetle set for extermination

March 9, 2018

After a long and storied history dating back eight decades, VW says it will finally squash its iconic Beetle.

Speaking at the Geneva motor show Monday, VW’s head of research and design, Frank Welsch said that the production version of the company's ID Buzz electric concept–which takes cues from the Type 2 Transporter better known as the Microbus–will wave the retro flag. A production version of the ID Buzz is slated for the 2022 model year.

MORE: Read our 2018 VW Beetle review

Welsch said "two or three generations is enough now" for the Beetle. He added that the car was "made with history in mind but you can't do it five times and have a new new new Beetle.”

The ID Buzz, an electric resurrection of VW's famed bus will feature a rear-mounted engine and the same steering wheel placement as the original to keep its retro styling authentic. It'll be up to consumers to decide if John Lennon glasses, tie-dye shirts, and bell-bottom jeans will return.

The Buzz will be part of the company’s new ID family of cars that will also include an allelectirc hatchback and crossover SUV. VW will position the the Buzz to be the star of the ID lineup and to help the company rebuild its reputation after its massive Dieselgate emissions-cheating scandal.

VW stopped selling the original Beetle in the U.S. in 1979 after it failed to comply with safety and emissions standards, although it was still built for global markets for another quarter of a century. VW rode the retro-inspired wave in 1998 with a modern interpretation it called the New Beetle. A third-generation arrived in 2012 with a more aggressive style sporty coupe intentions, but sales never met VW's expectations.

 -- by Ruben Porras.

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