6 December 2009

VW squashes Beetle, for now

It’s been 11 years since Volkswagen reintroduced the Beetle to American drivers and jumpstarted a craze for retro auto design. But the German automaker has decided it’s time for a change; 2010 will be the last year for the New Beetle as we currently know it.

The Beetle won’t be dead for long. A new edition is expected to launch in 2011 as a 2012 model, but it might not look like the cute and cuddly Bug Americans have grown to love again. AOL Autos reported that VW is expected to shed the “happy-go-lucky” design aesthetic in favor of a more aggressive look more in line with the Golf. But take heart Beetle lovers. It’ll still be “something Beetlish,” promised VW spokesman Steve Keyes promised at the L.A. Auto Show.

VW unveiled a “Final Edition” special model at the L.A. Auto Show on Dec. 3. The automaker is planning to produce 3,000 commemorative cars – 1,500 coupes and convertibles, each – that will feature a sport suspension and a unique paint scheme. The coupes will be available in Aquarius Blue, but the convertibles will have a stripe of Campanelle White along the side. The 2010 New Beetle Coupe and New Beetle Convertible Final Editions will be available this spring for $20,240 and $27,170 respectively.

As far as collectability of the Final Edition New Beetles, we wouldn’t hold our collective breath. While some models of the original air-cooled Beetle are quite collectible, the more desirable ones tend to be earlier models of the sedan and Cabriolet rather than the final all-white “Champagne Edition” and all black “Epilogue Edition” Super Beetle cabriolets from 1979.

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