The Volkswagen Beetle will not be replaced and will go out of production after its current generation, the firm's R&D boss Frank Welsch has confirmed.
The future of the retro-styled Beetle has been in doubt for some time. Speaking at the Geneva motor show, Welsch said that the production version of the VW ID Buzz electric concept – which takes cues from the Type 2 Transporter – would take the place of the Beetle as a retro-inspired model in the VW range.
Welsch said "two or three generations is enough now" for the Beetle. He added that the car was "made with history in mind but you can't do it five times and have a new new new Beetle".
The Beetle is sold as a coupé and a convertible, and Welsch said that the recently confirmed T-Roc convertible was a replacement for the Beetle Cabriolet as much as the Golf and Eos convertible models.
The role of a 'heritage' model in the future for VW would instead be served by VW's recreation of the Microbus rather than a Beetle, with a production version of the ID Buzz due around 2021/22 based on the VW Group's new electric platform.
"With MEB [the VW Group's electric car platform], you can do a bus and be an authentic vehicle with the original shape, and steering wheel mounted like the original. You can't do that with an engine in the front. The shape you see on the concept is realistic," said Welsch.
"People asked when production starts on the car, so we decided to go that way. Better to have that than having five generations of a new Beetle.
"We had all these Microbus concepts in the past but all were front-engined. The physicality of bringing it on MQB or PQ-something to life does not work."
VW launched the New Beetle in 1997, with a second-generation model following in 2011.