It probably came as something of a shock to a lot of people when Volkswagen announced there will be no direct replacement for the current second-generation of its iconic Beetle, which has now been on sale since 1997 when it was revived as a front-wheel drive model. However, the UK's Autocar is reporting a completely new Volkswagen Beetle is under consideration, but if it is given the go ahead by the company's bosses it looks as though it will be an all-electric model with a more practical four-door configuration.
Although it would probably move away from the two-door configuration that's been such a feature of the car since its inception in 1945, the new one might move back to the rear-wheel drive format of the original 'Type 1' Beetle.
It's likely the new Beetle would be built on VW's flexible electric MEB vehicle architecture that will be underpinning its upcoming new ID range. The first of the new models built on this platform will be the ID hatchback that's due to arrive next year.The VW ID Buzz uses the MEB platform, which a new Beetle would probably share. (Image: AFP Relaxnews)
The current Beetle is the second-generation of the car after the nameplate was revived in 1997, and although they are still on sale, production will end next year and Volkswagen has already stopped taking orders for new Beetles. The name is so synonymous with Volkswagen it's hard to see it being disregarded, and company boss Herbert Diess has already said he wants to introduce a larger amount of what he describes as "emotional" cars into the range alongside more standard vehicles. As the Beetle has to be the most famous name in the company's history it has to be a key contender for being considered for the role.
Perhaps the first "emotional" model will be the ID Buzz microbus that was quite obviously inspired by the classic VW camper van. That one isn't set to arrive until 2022, and by then the German auto giant will have launched a number of the more mainstream electric vehicles it has in the pipeline.
Klaus Bischoff, VW's design chief, has pointed out the company has to concentrate on getting the bigger-selling electric models going before deciding on a potential Beetle EV. Bischoff says: "Our duty is to get the volume [ID] models under way. These cars have super-complicated technology and if you do too much, it's an overload. Then we [can] move into more exotic cars and the field of emotion."