Volkswagen in July announced that the Beetle would drive off into the sunset after 2019, this time for good.
While there's been speculation that the iconic nameplate might return as an affordable EV based on Volkswagen Group's MEB modular platform for battery-electric cars, VW has put a rest to those rumors with its animated short film “The Last Mile.” It's set to air during “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” show later today on ABC.
The short film tells the story of a man whose major life events—from childhood to elderly age—are shaped and influenced by the presence of a Beetle, in this case the original icon. There was also the New Beetle launched in 1998 and its successor introduced in 2012. At the end of the clip, there's a glimpse of the ID 4, a battery-electric crossover SUV due in 2020—a “people's car” for a new era.
“The Beetle is easily one of the most recognizable cars in the history of automobiles,” said Saad Chehab, senior vice president, VW brand marketing. “We are proud of our past but our eye is on the future, hence our choice of New Year’s Eve to hint at our upcoming long-range EV.”
Even with the Beetle gone, VW will continue to offer retro-inspired models. A spiritual successor to the Microbus previewed by 2017's ID Buzz concept car and based on the MEB platform is coming in 2022. VW may also have a few other surprises to share with the MEB platform in the future. VW Group CEO Herbert Diess previously mentioned possible plans for a reborn, all-electric Thing utility vehicle, and VW earlier this year presented a concept for an electric dune buggy.
And for fans of the Beetle, VW is helping future-proof the original icon. The automaker in September teamed up with British firm eClassics to offer an electric conversion.