Volkswagen is performing a metaphoric passing of the torch from its classic Beetle to its upcoming family of electric vehicles that will be built on its MEB electric platform. Volkswagen has discontinued production of its modern Beetle in preparation for the launch of its ID family of electric vehicles.
In honor of the original People's Car, we've assembled a slideshow of the car's development over the decades from its inception in the 1930s to the conclusion of production in Mexico in 2003. VW has produced an animated film tribute to the Bug too, overlayed by the Beatles' Let it Be, performed by the Pro Musica Youth Chorus
“The Beetle is easily one of the most recognizable cars in the history of automobiles,” said Saad Chehab, senior vice president of Volkswagen brand marketing. “Honoring it properly required a medium with just as much versatility and universal appeal as the car itself."
The first members of VW's new ID family of EVs go into production in 2020, and response has been so favorable that the company has revised its forecast to reach 1 million ID vehicles by 2023, rather than the previously predicted 2025. “2020 will be a key year for the transformation of Volkswagen. With the market launch of the ID.3 and other attractive models in the ID. family, our electric offensive will also become visible on the roads”, said Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management responsible for E-Mobility. “Our new overall plan for 1.5 electric cars in 2025 shows that people want climate-friendly individual mobility – and we are making it affordable for millions of people.”
Still, they'll have a long way to go to reach the Beetle's 21 million cars over 70 years.
Dan Carney is a Design News senior editor, covering automotive technology, engineering and design, especially emerging electric vehicle and autonomous technologies.