Volkswagen Scuttles Its Iconic Beetle Car As It Moves To Focus On Electric Vehicles

Volkswagen (OTC: VLKAY) has announced the end of its iconic Beetle compact car.

On Thursday, Volkswagen announced that it plans to cease production of its Beetle globally in 2019 as the company shifts to producing mass-market electric cars.

The VW Beetle was a symbol of German resilience after World War II, became an emblematic symbol of the baby-boom generation, was the subject of a Disney movie franchise called "Herbie," and was revived with the New Beetle in the late 1990s that featured a built-in flower vase – an ode to the car’s 1960s heyday.

The New Beetle was popular when introduced, selling 80,000 units in the United States alone in 1999. More recently, the iconic car's sales have declined along with most other compact vehicles. Volkswagen said it has only sold 11,151 Beetles globally through the first eight months of this year, down 2.2% from the same period a year earlier.

U.S. consumers looking for a small Volkswagen vehicle overwhelmingly prefer the Jetta sedan, or a Tiguan compact sport utility vehicle, the company said in a news release.

"As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it," Volkswagen Group of America Chief Executive Officer Hinrich Woebcken said in the statement.

Volkswagen said two special model Beetles will be part of the final lineup — a Final Edition SE and Final Edition SEL — in the U.S. and that the company would offer driver-assistance technology in those models.