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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The past week has only lasted 7 days just as any other week will, but this one in particular seems like an eternity. For those who may not know, an article surfaced on a website called leftlanenews.com suggesting that our Beetle may be dropped from the lineup in a cost-cutting measure. Beetles aren't exactly big sellers, and the scary part is the the current model is selling a good 30% less than the previous New Beetles did. Moreover, more articles mirroring this sentiment have popped up since.

I've tried to get to the bottom of this to no avail. VW's website, VW.com, has a CONTACT US section. One option I've tried twice with no response is E-mail directly from the site where you fill in your comments. Another is the Chat line. I got through to them, but all they say is, "There are no plans to drop the Beetle at this time," which, put nicely, means the 2015 model is here to stay. But what about 2016? 2017? Are we only a year or two from a repeat of 1979?

This has triggered thoughts and emotions in me that are extremely difficult to put into words. For one thing, confirmation or even a greater than 50% chance of this happening would completely change my plans for events like Roswell, ToD, and Talimena. Quite frankly, IMO, there would be no point to holding these GTGs anymore, for it would be like having a group of Toyota MR2, Pontiac Fiero, or, Plymouth Prowler owners get together once a year until the turnout rapidly shrinks to nothing as the cars fade away with the sobering knowledge that no new ones will ever be available. :(
I realize many will disagree with that take, especially in light of the fact that thousands of air-cooled VWs are still out there, but that's where I'm coming from. I've been a VW guy for so long that I'd simply get a different model that would never be endangered, such as a Jetta, Passat, or Golf and continue to go to all-VW events, and furthermore stop caring what others think of a bone-stock car to boot..

I certainly haven't thrown in the towel yet, because these could be mere rumors with no basis in fact. In any case, it's imperative that we as a water-Beetle enthusiast group put forth our best efforts to get to the bottom of this. Here is some info:

VW Customer Care 1-800-822-8787
1-800-DRIVE-VW (1-800-374-8389)

You can also contact Mark Gilles at 703-364-7104 or E-mail him at [email protected].
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've always felt that the auto writers (and especially the armchair "experts" over in the Car Lounge) have exaggerated VW's alleged "problems" in North America. While the goal of 800,000 sales in the US isn't going to happen by 2018 as they wished, I just think they set their sights too high. VW will never come close to the sales of domestic and Asian brands in this country, and it's no longer 1970. In spite of that, VWoA is still selling a lot more cars here than they were 10-20 years ago. Even if the VW brand only makes up 2% of the total US market share, they sell plenty of units in other places worldwide to make up the difference. There are just too many people here into pickup trucks, gargantuan SUVs, uninspiring appliance cars, and cheap econoboxes. What concerns me the most about this article, however, is that no mention is made of a redesigned Beetle in 2018 or 2019. It only talks of the Jetta, Passat, and Golf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
It's absolutely incredible how this topic is taken so lightly, both here and on the Collective. We're not only talking about the very real possibility of the end of an iconic part of automotive history, but also the very essence of this website, the very core of what bonds this unique group together with whom I thought mutually shared a desire to celebrate the return of the world's most-loved car 17 years ago and to work together to ensure that even the slightest hint of a 1979 repeat would never happen again, and nobody seems to care. :confused:
 

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Sadly, I think that what has happened started back in 1998 when the fervor for the Beetle had people willing to pay top dollar to get one. VW tried to repeat this by feigning to kill it in 2011 and everyone believes that is what will happen again like the Camaro. Look at the Hellcat to see the same thing occurring at Dodge.
The Beetle was supposed to be like the older 'peoples car' Affordable to the common traveler but has long been treated as the special kid, that is what is missing here. This new introduction has no aftermarket specialty shops, no body kits, no cool trim or decal tricks. I think that speaks volumes unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll be the first to admit that a large part of my current emotional turmoil stems from the fact that I was quite late to the party. I didn't get a NB until 2009 following my club-use 1969 Bug's 6th breakdown hundreds of miles from home. As soon as I got it, I was in 1998 mode. The problem is that I was living nearly a decade behind the times and I've been trying to bring the initial fanfare of the NB back ever since. Along the way, I presented some theories that were way out there at times, because I wanted them to ring true so badly.
 

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I am not a new car guy in the least, the only new car I ever bought was a 2000 New Beetle GL. That was a mistake in the fact that we couldn't afford it on our budget and we had to trade down at 50,000 miles for a dumb Saturn. When the Concept 1 debut everyone was gung ho. But I knew I wasn't going to be able to get one until late in the game. Since the price has come down in the used car market and the novelty has worn thin on the fickle folks who think of them as just transportation I have had six ! This is really the time that folks will begin to want to fix them up now that they are cheaper and more accessible to the guys like me and you. Although they are in Japan - Bugs a GoGo seems to have popped up with cool stuff. Will this begin to Bring the Bug back into a loop ? I don't know. One clear advantage is the way VW has always manufactured their products with common parts between models - that is a big deal in keeping older cars alive.
 

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Cheeeto's Daddy
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Next Year...

Well to be quite honest with you, Now that Wifey has her 15 vert I may let Manfred go next year when he comes off lease. The plan was to buy him as our down payment made it so my residual is pretty low. To get a 3 year old low mileage TDI Beetle for what will be left on him is pretty amazing. Even with the upcoming IBT I should be 5-7 thousand miles below what the lease limits me to.

This will really be an issue if the rumored 2016 AWD Golf is available in the US. Almost certainly if it is available with the 2.0 or better diesel engine.

My car is a tool not unlike a hammer. Yes I love Manfred. That love is for the machine and how much fun he is to drive. I imagine I could get into all sorts of trouble with a TDI AWD Golf!

Chuckie
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Although I have bought brand new cars a couple of times in the past, it certainly makes more economic sense to let the first owner depreciate it for you. The problem is that in order to buy used cars, someone has to buy them initially when they're new. In the case of the earliest New Beetles in 1998, you couldn't get near one. There were waiting lists of over a year in length, and even then, some dealerships were charging as much as $4K over the sticker. NB clubs popped up everywhere and the early Roswell NB conventions were huge. And then, like a figurative Fall of Rome, everything died off in less than 5 years. Looking at US NB sales throughout the NB's run, the only year sales didn't drop from the previous year was 2010. Nevertheless, I thought VW realized the mistake they made by killing the original Beetle in 1979 and assumed the 2012+ model was a sort of reassurance that this would never happen again. At first, though, when the earliest sales figures for the next Beetle came in, I was scared that it was a flop right off the bat because they started out as slow as molasses. Then, when I saw a jump of 30 percent from '12's 29K units to 13's 43K units, I was elated. Then they dropped back down to 29K sales for '14, and now, they're currently 30% behind even that pace already for '15! So, the same thing is happening that occurred with NB sales, and in smaller numbers at that. All VW models seem to follow a similar pattern, but I'm guessing that there's a big difference when Jettas still consistently sell 4-5 times as many units and Passats consistently sell 3-4 times as many units as water-Bugs regardless of VWoA's overall performance.
 

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Imbugd - 99 1.8t
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Considering that when beetles first came out they shared almost universal coverage in their ads and now they have none its not surprising. The only statements coming out about NBs were about their disappointment and how 'girly' the older version was and how the new one was supposed to be more 'manly'. (yeah right). Then they do more interviews talking about how sales are slow.

What do we have for TV ads? Do we have neat UFOs spinning around? Do we show off the one tank from Seattle to San Diego? Do we have the 'pimp my ride' level of creativity? No, if you ever see an ad of theirs it has 'Jetta TDI clean Diesels' and 'Sign and Drive' as the only 2 main feature points.

They sell their own cars like they're bored with them.
 

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There is one glaring distinction in the air cooled version that can't be ignored as a factor here. They were versatile . You could take them off road. VW sold the engines for industrial uses and air craft. The body unbolted thus lending a second life as a kit or dune buggy. The parts easily and with little modification fit into other VW products. They were cheap to maintain and lent easily to roadside repair. You could get tune up parts at your local thrift store with your socks and shampoo. That is what is missing here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, that's a big reason air-cooled Bugs sold a lot more than water Beetles ever will, but back in 1970, you also had no Hondas, Kias, Hyundais, and very few Toyotas and Nissans (Datsuns) to compete with. I would guess that some Asian car like a Yaris or Accent or even a domestic like a Ford Focus is now today's equivalent of the "People's Car." And Mystix is right in that VW doesn't promote today's Beetles worth a poop. In the small-car segment, they ignore the Beetle and push the Golf family, even in print ads. I have always also wondered where the "chick car" stigma came into play. That never crossed anyone's mind in 1998, and I never heard that label until the NB's sales really tanked about 3-4 years into their run. There seems to be some discrepancy in demographics, too. I read somewhere where the actual numbers of male/female NB buyers was about 50/50, but another Orger reported that she heard the ratio was 73/27 in favor of females, so now I don't know which to believe. In either case, the "more masculine" Beetles are clearly not faring as well.

I sent an E-mail to the Mark Gilles I mentioned above just last night (Mar 17) and it may take a day or two to get a reply, and I hope it's not yet another "standard politically-correct" answer of, "We have no plans to discontinue the Beetle at this time," because all that means is that there will probably be a 2016 model in showrooms. I want to know if there will be a NEXT GENERATION on the MQB! That will be the telltale answer.

On a personal note, I'd like to know this by late May. I live in the north, and the VW show/cruise season doesn't start up here until the beginning of June. If you read my initial post that introduced this thread, you'll see that if I get convinced that the Beetle's days are numbered, I'll be looking to switch to a "safe from the axe" model and just settle for all-VW events as I did before I discovered the water Beetle crowd.
 

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Unfortunately, many of the great VW models; are not sold here in the USA. I think if you were looking for a traditional vintage VW Beetle equivalent; you would be looking at the VW UP! or Polo. These are designed; as entry level, affordable small cars; more in line with the original VW Beetle specs.

http://www.volkswagen.de/de/models/der-polo.html

Start < up! < Modelle < Volkswagen Deutschland

It seems to me; that small affordable cars like these, would sell in the US market... especially, in the big cities. They must not think; the US market would support these, there are similar cars being sold by other brands and I see them driving around all the time. Well, VW? :confused:

Of course; this is just one case, most German car companies tend to not sell many of their great models in the USA.

If you look at the VW Mexico site; they sell many of these tiny affordable models. Check out the New Polo, Cross Fox and Goal:

Modelos | Volkswagen México
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm guessing the reason some of those models aren't sold here (like the Polo especially) is that VW knows there are already a bunch of similar cars sold here that cost less, and the exchange rate would make them unprofitable. Saturns, as an example sold like hotcakes, particularly in low-income areas of the US, but during their entire run, not a single car made a dime of profit for GM.
 

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Don't forget our Pal Nader and the high safety standards he brought to bear. It could be that the lower price offerings couldn't pass the muster in North America. When the New Beetle came out VW moved mountains to get away from the stigma associated with Ralph the Mouth
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, I remember him scaring everyone out of Corvairs. Another thing: Some Orgers on the Collective (which is sadly where 99.9% of them go now) have suggested that to save the Beetle, VW should shrink it down to Mini Cooper/Fiat 500 size. I for one would not feel safe in a car that small.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well to be quite honest with you, Now that Wifey has her 15 vert I may let Manfred go next year when he comes off lease. The plan was to buy him as our down payment made it so my residual is pretty low. To get a 3 year old low mileage TDI Beetle for what will be left on him is pretty amazing. Even with the upcoming IBT I should be 5-7 thousand miles below what the lease limits me to.

This will really be an issue if the rumored 2016 AWD Golf is available in the US. Almost certainly if it is available with the 2.0 or better diesel engine.

My car is a tool not unlike a hammer. Yes I love Manfred. That love is for the machine and how much fun he is to drive. I imagine I could get into all sorts of trouble with a TDI AWD Golf!

Chuckie
Somehow, I missed this post until a day or two later....And I love my New Beetle as well. The problem I have, and it's apparently quite isolated, is that I crave the reassurance that the car I pick to not only drive daily but also proudly exhibit my enthusiasm for is one that has not only already had a proven history of longevity (even if it changed from a Type 1 to a water-cooled model with a 19-year hiatus) but one that is in no danger whatsoever of being axed. I assumed that when VW continued with the water Beetle after the NB's 98-10 run that they realized the mistake they made in 1979 by ever dropping this iconic car from their lineup in the first place. As Tonia just told me, that would be like Ford killing off the Mustang. Thus, at least something like a Passat, Jetta, or in your case, a Golf would fall into the "no danger of being axed" category. I would just have a very difficult time getting enthused about driving hundreds of miles to convene with other owners of something that is no longer in production. Well, unless 3D printing is perfected to the point where anyone could have any car they want indefinitely........
 

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My Reasons...

I go to the VW GTGs because I enjoy the people who attend. Sure we have the same cars, but to me the friendships I have made far out weigh the cars we drive. If I lose Manfred tomorrow I am pretty sure I will still be friends with my Beetle Buddies.

I am driving 6,000 miles this year to Roswell and points beyond because #1. The friends I have there. #2. Because my friends who haven't been are going and I can't wait to see them in Roswell. #3. It's on the way and I like Roswell. #4. I like looking at all the cars.

My car is not the focus of my life. If you only know me as Manfred's owner, you don't know me very well.

I can't wait to see everyone in Roswell! If I do end up with an AWD TDI Golf next year, I would still probably go to Roswell to see everyone. Sure I would be a spectator, but I wouldn't insult my friends by stating that I would give up seeing them just because my car was no longer in production.

If anything that would make a GTG more special to me.

Chuckie
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I fully understand that point of view. I can see where it makes it look like my established long-distance friendships are solely based on whether or not a common car remains in production, but the thing that makes RTR and ToD (and I had hoped, TSD) so unique is that we as a group of owners of a model that clearly doesn't get the respect it deserves at your run-of-the-mill VW GTG have the advantage and privilege of saying "FU. We'll put together our own events."

If the very thing that bonded us together in the first place is taken away, we still have the friendships, but we've lost the reason, in this case, to have water Beetle-specific GTGs, and in fact as friends, they should be changed to all-VW or even all-car GTGs, discontinued or not, whatever trips each individual's trigger. I was all for the separatism of water-Beetles-only, and still would be IF the Beetle escapes the chopping block, but if it doesn't, then a NB/12+ event would be like having a convention of Buick Le Sabre or Chevy Citation owners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
In short, I look at it like this: Roswell Y2K in particular was created back in the NB's Glory Days to celebrate the triumphant return of VW's icon. Even though that was years before I jumped on the water-Beetle bandwagon, and it had shrunk drastically by the time I attended my first one in 2011, I was under the impression that the purpose of events like that as well as the formation of the Org was to promote today's version of the Beetle and to share a common goal of doing whatever we could to ensure that this iconic car would never see the corporate guillotine again. Of course it was inevitable that many friends would be made along the way to what I perceived to be a common objective, but what I 'm seeing now is very few, if any, could care less about this beloved car being all but gone in a few years. I view RTR and ToD as a rolling Beetle commercial first, and a good time for socializing with friends second, and based on a few Collective comments I've seen, I'm clearly alone. If this car is discontinued, it's not going to be like the air-cooled Beetles, where you can still see dozens, if not hundreds, at VW shows. 99.9% of the NB/12+ owners will simply send them to the scrapyard once the cars are shot, and the remaining .01% will restore them, which will make them rare, yes, but a mere curiosity like a 1981 Fox or 1990 Corrado. And why? Because there won't be any new ones! It would seem that I'm the only one that cares about this.
 
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