Image: Various PDWhat? Volkswagen is considering killing off “Herbie?” Say it ain’t so! But that’s exactly what German magazine, Der Spiegel, or in English, The Mirror is reporting.

So if the rumors are based upon fact, what are these facts and what is the reasoning behind the possible discontinuation of one of the most recognizable iconic cars of the 20th and 21st centuries?
The Bottom Line

Der Spiegel reports that Volkswagen is in the midst of tightening the reins on costs and is in the mode of increasing profits or the bottom line. And although the VW Beetle is one of the most beloved automobiles ever produced, it seems to be losing traction, as far as sales are concerned.

The two-door wonder may see its last glimmer of light with the present generation model. Worldwide sales for the Beetle scored 94,214 units, but this figure was down 22 percent from 2013 sales numbers. As charming as the New Beetle was when it first appeared in 1997, new generations of buyers are more interested in practical performance and features rather than the cute factor.

Other Casualties

The Beetle isn’t the only endangered species in Volkswagen’s product line; the Eos is on the brink of extinction, and the Scirocco, a longtime VW standard, is also on the list of possible exits from the manufacturing timetable.

The Polo, a European-market subcompact, is also a candidate for retirement.

The VW Golf, a highly rated car by car industry reviews, is also being considered for being put out to pasture. The reasoning behind all of this thinking is related to market trends, which seem to indicate that two-door vehicles are on the decline. The two-door model only tallied 5 percent of VW’s total Golf sales last year.

Already Gone In India

Volkswagen decided to take a chance in opening new markets by expansion into India with its VW Beetle in 2009. The initial response was a good one as its unique styling and VW fans gobbled the new offering up, but this initial enthusiasm soon faltered, and car sales stalled.

Other competitors such as Fiat’s 500 and BMW’s Mini also found it hard to overcome the inertia against expensive small cars, and eventually dropped out of the Indian market.

The writing was on the wall in 2012 when Volkswagen showcased its new Beetle at the India Auto Expo, only to pull back on releasing it for sale. The unusual styling and hefty cost on the vehicle had a poor showing against more modern and full featured cars with better performance and price points.

The Beetle was finally retired in 2013 in India.

Last Trip Around?

The present generation of the VW Beetle may be the last model to be manufactured for the world, but there is still a loyal and dedicated fan-base for this car, and there may be loud protests to keep the Beetle alive

Source: Road and Track,

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