Volkswagen Says The Beetle Is Not Coming Back

Rumors about a revived Volkswagen Beetle for the electric era have been circulating the internet for years. The Wolfsburg-based automaker discontinued the Beetle in 2019 and there hasn’t been a direct successor so far. Apparently, an electric Beetle isn’t currently under consideration and this appears to be a purely marketing question.

Speaking to Autocar during pre-production test drives of the third-generation Tiguan, Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schafer confirmed the Beetle isn’t currently in the cards. Not because Volkswagen doesn’t have the development resource, money, or time to build it but because it doesn’t make a lot of sense from a marketing standpoint. When asked whether the Beetle could make a comeback for the modern era, Schafer said:

“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 percent [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.”

Gallery: Volkswagen ID. Beetle Renders

Interestingly, Schafer’s predecessor at VW’s helm – Herbert Diess – was open to the idea of an MEB-based Beetle for the new decade. In February 2022, he admitted “many other emotional cars are possible on our scalable MEB platform” when asked about the future of the brand’s historic nameplates. Also, Volkswagen trademarked the e-Beetle name in Europe a few years ago but it turns out the company’s strategy in the EV segment has changed since the arrival of Schafer. 

If you still want a new Beetle in 2023, you can go for the ultra-expensive Milivié 1 restomod. It doesn’t have an electric powertrain – instead, it uses a 2.28-liter air-cooled flat-four engine – and will be produced in a highly limited run of just 22 cars at around $621,200 a pop. Not quite the same recipe as the affordable original Beetle built for 65 years and sold in more than 21 million units but that’s a different topic.

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