VW just can't seem to get anything right these days.
Last year there were rumors that the “New Beetle,” aka the current Beetle, was on its way out. Those rumors were put to bed by Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, a member of the VW board. But that was before Dieselgate. Now the good Doctor is off the board and Autoline’s Twitter account is reporting that the Bug will get the ax to make room for more CUVs. The outlet tweeted a photo of the Beetle’s headlight with the accompanying caption: “Good bye Beetle. VW to axe its iconic car at end of 2018. Sales are slowing to a trickle and VW needs more CUVs.”
While this is just a rumor right now—the company refused to comment when Road & Track reached out—it would make sense. Small two-doors aren’t big sellers right now, whereas SUVs and crossovers are flying off lots left and right. The Beetle could make a case for survival if it was still popular, but it looks like today’s consumers are over it. Volkswagen’s most recent sales report shows both the coupe and convertible models down 42.6% and 41.5% in year-to-date sales from this time last year. There have been only 3,319 Beetles sold in 2016. What’s interesting is that sales of VW’s existing SUVs and pretty damn bad as well.
The Tiguan has sold 9,292 units so far this year but only 1,151 Touaregs have been moved. VW is actually selling more Jettas and Passats by a wide margin than it is SUVs. Dieselgate might have something to do with these slow sales, and it probably has a lot to do with the automaker’s (possible) thinking. CUVs are ultra-popular right now and could help the company make up the gobs of cash it could lose once its final Dieselgate penalty is handed down. But it seems like VW has a bigger problem than deciding which of its current cars to kill to make room for more CUVs. The German giant doesn’t seem to know how to make or market SUVs that people want. What’s the point of building new ones if no one cares or know they exist?