In a recent interview with Autocar, Thomas Schafer, CEO of Volkswagen, firmly put an end to speculations about the revival of the iconic Beetle. Schafer drew parallels with the discontinued Scirocco model, referring to the Beetle as a “dead end” for the brand. Despite its status as a legendary nameplate, the Beetle will not be making a comeback in an all-electric form, as Volkswagen's focus lies on advancing toward a future of sustainable mobility.
Interestingly, the Beetle recently found a digital reincarnation in the animated superhero movie “Miraculous” on Netflix. However, Schafer quickly dismissed the possibility of the Beetle's return, stating, “I don't think so because there are certain vehicles that have had their day. It wouldn't make sense to bring it back.” This statement suggests that while the Beetle's presence may live on in the digital world of entertainment, it won't be reimagined as an electric vehicle in reality.
Schafer further emphasized Volkswagen's commitment to investing in the best possible technologies and cost efficiency. Only volume models like the Golf GTI have been confirmed for a transition into the electric era. Schafer added, “To do that again? I don't think so. And going forward with balancing all these technologies and the cost that is associated with it, you've got to invest money in the best possible place.”
While Volkswagen acknowledges and appreciates its rich heritage, Schafer emphasized that the brand's identity extends beyond nostalgia. He stated, “We are proud of our heritage; there's nothing wrong with that. And when you look back, it is something to be proud of. But it's not what only defines us.” Volkswagen aims to move forward, embracing innovation and progress in the ever-evolving automotive industry.
Despite the recent unveiling of the ID. Buzz, an electric vehicle paying homage to the iconic Type 2 buses from the 1950s, Schafer expressed reluctance toward multiple revivals. He labeled such a retro approach as a “dead end.” While the Beetle's digital reincarnation in “Miraculous” showcases its enduring popularity, Volkswagen's focus remains on the future rather than dwelling on past successes.
In a move that signifies the company's dedication to progress, Schafer reportedly terminated the contract of VW's former design chief, Jozef Kaban, due to dissatisfaction with Kaban's concepts. This included the Trinity flagship EV, resulting in project delays. These decisive actions underscore Volkswagen's drive to embrace change and maintain its position at the forefront of automotive innovation.
With Schafer's remarks, Volkswagen has made its intentions clear, prioritizing the development of forward-thinking electric models over nostalgic resurrections. While the Beetle may forever hold a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts worldwide and find new life in the digital realm of “Miraculous,” it seems that Volkswagen's focus remains firmly fixed on shaping the future of mobility with sustainable, cutting-edge vehicles.