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VW bids goodbye to the 'New Beetle'

Volkswagen has announced that the “New Beetle,” a playful spin on the classic bug, will become a thing of the past as of next year. Many Americans have fond memories of the car, despite its roots in Germany’s Nazi past.

Before production ceases, the company will offer US customers two special models — the Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL — starting at roughly $23,000 (€19,670).

Don’t see many of them around here. I think VW should have brought back an updated version of the van. Lots of concepts, nothing on the road (yet).

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Obviously, the company is reacting to very low sales figures for that model.

VW is considering an all-electric version of the van, but no replacement for the Beetle. All cars, and especially small cars, are out of favor. 2018 sales for the Beetle so far are a little over 11,000 this year.

I was lucky enough to test a Beetle a couple years back. I liked how it drove. It felt like a Golf, which is a good thing. However, while in traffic with my son, who was about 13 at the time, we were at a light and he noticed people pointing and laughing at the car. I really don’t care, but “personality” cars come with baggage. As far as I know that was the only time people laughed at a car I tested.

R.I.P. “New Beetle” Not

Good riddance! What took so long?
As GorehamJ has pointed out this car was an embarrassment to owners and to the company that made the original Volkswagen Bug.

I totally wore out 2 (actually 3… I had an off-road Type 1 dune buggy that I raced) of the original machines, a 64, and the newest one being a 71 that I purchased brand spanking new in 1971 for $2350 Out The Door, including sunroof and stereo radio.

They didn’t drive like a Golf (and more like a “Wild Mouse” amusement ride) and the engine was air-cooled and in the rear-end and emitted an unmistakable sound that I can instantly recognize today. That’s all part of the magical allure of these old death-traps.

I have never driven a New Beetle, nor have I ridden in one (even though a neighbor at our FL condo has one). I have always been too embarrassed for the car and its manufacturer.

An Elvis impersonator, frequently sighted in Las Vegas, is to the real Elvis what a New Beetle is to the original real Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle!
Thank Ya’ Very Much!


I remember when the VW New Beetle was introduced in late 1997 as a 1998 model and conitinued in production until 2011 when a revamped version was introduced. For a model to remain in production for 21 years isn’t too bad. I looked at a couple of used ones and thought about buying one to drive around town, but decided it wouldn’t be cost effective over what I would save on using my minivan around town. I never drove one.
I have driven the old rear wheel drive engine in the rear VW Beetles. My first experience driving a VW Beetle was in 1963. I was a teaching assistant when I was working on my master’s degree. I was giving the final exam in one of the classes I taught and I saw one female student was about to pass out. I called for help and the campus police came and transported the woman to the health center. After the exam period was over, I went to the health service to check up on the student. She had been given an injection and was going to be released. It turned out that she had a sick infant at home and had been up for 48 hours straight. I found out she lived in a little town about 15 miles away and had the family’s only vehicle. She needed to get the car home so her husband could get to work and she was in no shape to drive. I got a campus policeman to take her home and I followed with my student’s car which was a VW Beetle. When we got out on the highway, the campus policeman decided to “blow the carbon” out of his squad car. It was windy and I really had to work to keep up and keep the VW Beetle on the road. We did get the woman and her VW home and the campus policeman brought me back to campus.
Two days later, the student came to see me and wanted to complete the final exam. She had an A going into the exam and what she had completed on the final was correct. I had already turned in my grades and she had an A. She argued that she should do something for me for what I had done, so I let her buy me a cup of coffee. I figured I had earned it for this first time driving experience of a VW Beetle.


I had two New Beetles as rentals. The first was a baby blue convertible. I drove it off a parking lot at the work place, and one of the program managers laughed at it and said it was a girlie car. I thought that was pretty ridiculous for a “responsible” adult to say, and finally decided that he was just jealous because he didn’t have access to rentals like that. The other was a coupe at a conference. Both drove well and were fun. They weren’t quick, but were never intended to be. I’d be happy to have them as rentals again.

The feedback I got out this way from New Beetle owners I’v known was the cars required more maintenance and repairs than expected. They all got sold pretty soon, as a non-reliable car isn’t a good thing to drive on Calif urban freeways. Fuel system problems in particular. I never looked up the Consumer Reports reliability ratings though.

Oh, that’s good to hear they captured the reliability (or lack of) accurately when they did a new-fangled model of the original Beetle.

The originals were very reliable, in between needing…
fuel pumps, accelerator pump tubes, diaphragms, voltage regulators, link/king pins, steering dampers, heater cables, speedometer cables, door hinge pins, valve adjustments, head gaskets, push rod tube seals, generator brushes, brake master cylinders, wheel cylinders, shift rod bushings, w/wiper arms, windshield wiper pivots, spark plug heli-coils

Fun to drive, but often a total PITA, that’s it! Nailed it!

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One image issue that plagued the new Beetle was that it was known as a “chick car.” I’m not sure why, or why that only applied to the new version and not the classic.

I still admire the classic as an “Everyman” car if its era. The new Beetle was too expensive to ever come close to that image.

When the New one came out, it had a bud vase mounted on the dash. Pretty “chick”…

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On the rare occasions when I see a “new Beetle”, it is invariably being driven by a woman, so apparently women agree that it is a “chick car”.

@texases So that thing in the VW New Beetle is a bud vase? I thought it was a spittoon. That would make it a man’s car for those of us who chew.


You have to be very accurate to hit that small hole while driving. @Triedaq, you no doubt developed that special talent by plinking disruptive students in class. Should we call you Spatman in honor of this talent? Walt Garrison would be proud of your accomplishment.

Spittoon? Bud Vase?

Ha, Ha!
I thought it was a HERE bottle!
When I was involved in aviation some pilots equipped their aircraft with longer range fuel tanks and Here bottles.

the acronym HERE stands for Human Element Range Extender. There are no “Rest” Areas at 10,000 feet and above.

The bud vase is too small for that unless you have a drain tube through the floor.

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What’s up with bud vases? They puzzle me…

I owned Volkswagen bugs for over a decade, had " VW company cars", knew tons of others who had them, worked as an employee at 2 different Volkswagen dealers for probably close to a 4 or 5 year total, had a girl friend with a powder blue VW Beetle Automatic Stick Shift and NEVER once saw a bud vase!

I’m guessing it was a female hippie thing. We had hippies, I even know some, but none had bud vases. I guess we just had generic hippies, hippie wannabes.

Could it be a Left Coast Hippie thing that sprung up in California with the Flower Children in the Haight Ashbury community or at Woodstock? I’d bet that’s it!

:wilted_flower:Peace! :v:t2:


The bud vase was about 30 years too late for the hippies. Unless you mean after they grew up and became your neighbors.

I really thought it was a “retro” thing like the entire New Beetle. I think that’s the impression they tried to create.