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This Is America’s Volkswagen Beetle Replacement

Industry News

Of course it's going to be a crossover.

After being in production for over 80 years, the Volkswagen Beetle is finally dead. Love it or hate it, the Beetle is one of the most influential models of all time. The final model has rolled off the production line at VW’s Puebla plant in Mexico and will go on display at Volkswagen’s museum in the same city.

With the Beetle now gone, what model will take its place in America? According to Automotive News, Volkswagen will be replacing the Beetle with, you guessed it, a new compact crossover designed specifically for the US market.

Specifically, VW of Mexico CEO Steffen Reiche confirmed to the publication that VW will produce a small crossover, tentatively known as the Tarek, at its Mexican plant in 2020 before sales begin by the end of 2021. The new US-bound crossover will slot below the Tiguan and is said to be a "beefed-up version” of the Volkswagen Tharu sold in China. "We’ll adapt the Chinese model for this market,” Reiche said during an event at VW’s Puebla plant marking the end of the Beetle’s production. "Our version will be the stronger one, the rougher one compared to the Chinese one.”

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China’s Tharu has a 105.5-inch long wheelbase and measures 72.5 inches wide and 64.3 inches tall, but given Reiche’s comments, it remains to be seen if the US version will get a growth spurt and a more aggressive design. In China, the compact crossover is offered with three engine options, including a 1.2-liter with 116 horsepower, a 1.4-liter turbo with 150 hp, and a 2.0-liter turbo with 186 hp. Each engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, but US powertrain options are unknown. The Tharu is also only available with front-wheel drive in China, but an all-wheel drive option could be offered Stateside.