The Beetle, the car that made Volkswagen a household name and carried it through the 20th century, is dead after the current generation ends production. Volkswagen Research and Development Boss Frank Welsch announced at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show there’ll be no Beetle replacement and Volkswagen CEO, Dr. Herbert Diess, went one step further to claim the German carmaker “is evolving into an SUV brand.” This may annoy the few Beetle fans out there, and may even seem like the end of days for enthusiasts, but for a brand built on being ‘the people’s car,’ going full-on SUV is the only logical way forward.
However, VW won’t let the Beetle go without filling the gap in the lineup somehow. To make up for the loss of retro flavor, the I.D Buzz, a similarly retro-inspired electric vehicle, will pick up the slack when it arrives in 2022. Even though the new microbus doesn’t scream SUV, it follows the same ideology of a spacious, stylish people carrier. And why wouldn’t VW make this pivot? It has Audi, Porsche, and Lamborghini to take care of its performance credentials and SUV/Crossover sales are too much of a cash cow to resist. VW is, after all, supposed to be making the car of the people, and when ‘the people’ are all buying SUVs and crossovers, the plan of action is obvious.
VW isn’t the only band with this idea either —Ford made a similar claim earlier this year, that it’ll be making even more SUVs too. However, his doesn’t necessarily signal the end of small, fun, sporty cars. The VW brand could be positioning itself as the bankroll for all its sub-brands mentioned above. The more money the parent company brings in, the more wild and exciting cars we’ll see from the underlings. The German brand will be able to experiment more without having to worry about individual losses as much. SUVs and crossovers have been the bread and butter of all the world’s brands for a couple of years now. They’re the reason Mazda can still make the Miata; Porsche, the 718 and 911; Ford, the Mustang; etc. Volkswagen is just taking it to an extreme, and that’s a good thing. The Beetle died so that more fun cars can live.