The Beetle ‘Had Its Day’ and Isn’t Coming Back, Volkswagen Boss Says

The Beetle ‘Had Its Day’ and Isn’t Coming Back, Volkswagen Boss Says

The Volkswagen Beetle is about as dead as a car can be right now. That’s a little surprising, considering automakers are using this big moment EVs are having to reintroduce some beloved names and concepts, and there was certainly plenty of love surrounding the Beetle for a very long time. Maybe not so much anymore, given recent comments from Volkswagen’s chief executive.

Thomas Schäfer indicated to Autocar in a story published Monday that it’s unwise to hold out for a third new Beetle:

Asked if the Volkswagen Beetle – one of the company’s (and, indeed, the world’s) longest-serving nameplates – could make a comeback based on this strict criteria, he was categoric: “I don’t think so, because there are certain vehicles that have had their day. It wouldn’t make sense to bring it back.

“I wouldn’t say with 100% [certainty]. But from where I stand now, I wouldn’t consider it. It’s the same as Scirocco: it had its day, then there was a new model based on a reinterpretation. To do that again? I don’t think so. And going forward with balancing all these technologies and the cost that is associated with it, you’ve got to invest money in the best possible place.”

It’s hard to argue with Schäfer’s point about making the best investment possible if you consider how the previous Beetle was selling about the time it was discontinued. Volkswagen moved 36,421 New Beetles in the U.S. in 2007, per data from CarFigures. In 2011, the first year of the last-gen Beetle (paradoxically sans the “New” adjective), VW sold 43,134. Pretty impressive for a small car in America, though this was at the apex of expensive gas and Americans giving a damn about small cars. Come the final full year of production in 2018, that number sank back down to 14,411.

The Beetle ‘Had Its Day’ and Isn’t Coming Back, Volkswagen Boss Says
Here’s more Beetle Dune, because why not? (Image: Volkswagen)

Volkswagen cashed the New Beetle check already. You can’t do that more than once. Or you can, but at a certain point it begins to look increasingly desperate and brings diminishing impact with every attempt. Schäfer and Volkswagen seem to have internalized this. Besides, while the world could sure use more (read: any) cheap EVs, that’s not what shoppers are jazzed to buy, and not what sells well. There’s much greater potential for success (read: margins) in something like the ID.Buzz, a larger multipurpose vehicle that feeds the adventurous spirit every brand is seizing these days.

So that’s so long and farewell to the Beetle, for now. Though if you ask me, this goodbye won’t be forever. Electric cars are expensive to make now, but one day they won’t be. One day they’ll be skateboards with different hats. And when that day comes, it’d seem like a pretty easy win for Volkswagen to make an ID.Golf with a familiar, retro hat. That’s all the old New Beetle really ever was, anyway.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.