VW Beetle is not dead yet

It looks like VW will keep the Beetle on the U.S. market for now

Far be it from us to compare the Volkswagen Beetle to any old bug, but despite the company's attempts to stomp on it for good, it might still have life left in it. USA Today is reporting that the current, 2011-introduced generation of the Beetle is to remain in production for the foreseeable future, based on a confirmation from a VW USA spokeswoman.

"The German automaker has no plans to discontinue the car in the U.S., VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan confirmed in an email," reports USA Today. For the past two years, Volkswagen has sold around 15,000 Beetles annually in the U.S.; that roughly matches the final years of the previous-generation car. A high point of the current car's sales was 2012, when 43,000 were sold in the States, but that's only about half as many as in the beetlemania days of 1999 when over 83,400 cars found owners.

The Beetle is only produced in Mexico, as was the previous-generation "New Beetle." If you want to feel old, remember that the New Beetle was first shown in more or less production-ready form in Tokyo all the way back in 1995: there have been front-engine, Golf-based Beetles for longer than it took for VW to bring back the name after the last German-built air-cooled classic was made in 1978. The original rear-engined Beetle was produced in Mexico until 2003, and the famous Mexico City taxi Beetles remained in duty until 2012.

Earlier this month, at the Geneva Motor Show, VW's R&D director Frank Welsch stated that the upcoming electric microbus, the I.D. Buzz, would be Volkswagen's heritage model instead of the aging Beetle, and that the Beetle would not get a successor this time. According to Welsch, making countless new generations of the Beetle would not be right. "You can't do it five times and have a new new new Beetle," he said. While Volkswagen could still feasibly bring the Beetle back when the original car turns 100 years old, it's time for the electric bus to shine. But it looks like they'll still make a few Beetles for the sake of it.

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