IT’S been all of eight decades since VW’s famed Beetle first crawled onto the road, but the iconic bug is about to meet its maker.

VW research and design chief Frank Welsch announced in Geneva that the exterminators would soon be called in because “two or three generations is enough now”.

He added that although the car made history,  “you can’t do it five times and have a new new new Beetle”.

The distinctive rounded, rear-engined car has been a part of the automotive scene since 1938.

It took off in the 40s after WWII and became a part of pop culture in the 60s and 70s.

VW stopped selling the original Beetle in the US in 1979 after it failed to comply with safety and emissions standards.

It was, however, still built for global markets for another quarter of a century.

VW rode the retro-inspired wave in 1998 with a modern interpretation called the New Beetle.

A third-generation arrived in 2012 with more aggressive styling and sporty coupe pretentions, but sales never met sales expectations.

Herr Welsch said the retro flag would in future be waved by VW’s ID Buzz electric concept, which takes cues from the Type 2 Transporter — aka the Microbus.

The ID Buzz, slated for production in 2022, is an electric resurrection of the Microbus, also a rear-mounted power plant and the same steering wheel placement as the original — to keep its retro styling authentic.

The Buzz will be part of the company’s new ID family of cars that will also include an all-electric hatchback and SUV.

VW did not say exactly when production of the New Beetle would stop and there’s always a chance it will hang on for a while yet.

After all, an earlier attempt to squash it failed.

 

Check out these stories too . . .

Little blue Beetle back in the fold

Special edition marks 70 years of the Kombi

The two men who saved VW

 

Beetle goes bye-bye

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.
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