When the current-generation Volkswagen Beetle runs out its current lifecycle, it will be the end of the road for the nameplate. The German automaker confirmed plans for a next-generation Beetle are off the table and the car will exit production, according to an Autocar report published this Tuesday.
The news follows rumors of an all-electric Beetle that had swirled for months. VW was reportedly looking at using the MEB platform, the automaker’s dedicated electric-car architecture, to create a next-generation Beetle similar to the original. It would have been rear-wheel drive with its powertrain stuffed in the rear. VW chairman Herbert Diess said the MEB platform provided good chances for more “emotional” cars.
VW’s research and development head, Frank Welsch, broke the Beetle’s fate and said the reborn Microbus will serve as the brand’s retro-inspired model. Additionally, VW will cover its bases with the recently announced T-Roc Cabriolet, which will serve as a Beetle Cabriolet replacement.
The new Microbus will be based on the ID Buzz concept and reach production around 2021 or 2022, which means the Beetle likely has a couple more years left in it. Welsch did not provide a specific timetable for the Beetle’s death.
He also echoed Diess’ earlier sentiment that the MEB platform will allow for more expressive vehicles. “You can do a bus and be an authentic vehicle with the original shape, and steering wheel mounted like the original. You can’t do that with an engine in the front,” he said.
VW may also have a few other surprises to share with the MEB platform in the future. Diess previously mentioned possible plans for a reborn, all-electric Thing utility vehicle and even a new dune buggy.