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We’ve been speaking in regards to the subsequent Volkswagen Beetle — effectively, just a few of us have — ever because the restyled two-door dropped the “New” moniker and flatted out its roofline a tad.

Whereas the 2012 reshaping gave the mannequin a brand new lease on life, it additionally gave the impression to be the plucky coupe’s finish level, stylistically talking. The place do you’re taking a mannequin from there, with out erasing the retro allure that wooed patrons within the late 1990s? Possibly it was time for the mannequin to die. Not surprisingly, experiences arose final yr claiming the Beetle had a date with the chopping block.

And but, that rumor by no means actually went anyplace. The mannequin stays, its official future nonetheless in limbo. Nevertheless, it appears Volkswagen brass is coming round to the concept the Beetle deserves a everlasting place within the firm’s lineup, although not within the format we’ve grown accustomed to.

Any new New Beetle will probably be rear-wheel drive, says VW chairman Herbert Diess.

As reported by Autocar, it appears the efforts of VW design head (and Beetle aficionado) Klaus Bischof may be paying off. Diess stated a proposal for a next-generation Beetle will quickly go earlier than the corporate’s board, a part of the planning course of for the corporate’s future autos.

This received’t come as a shock, given the business’s route: the Beetle, if it troopers on, is not going to accomplish that with an on-board gasoline tank.

“If we wished to do a Beetle, electrically it might be a lot better than at the moment’s mannequin, a lot nearer to historical past, as a result of it might be rear-wheel drive,” Diess stated. The proposed electrical Beetle would share its versatile MEB platform underpinnings with plenty of electrical autos, together with the reborn Microbus.

Image it — a Beetle and Microbus, again collectively once more, solely now with zero tailpipe emissions. (Hubert Humphrey bumper stickers not included.)

Provided that VW has already nailed down what it desires from its first crop of latest EVs, any new Beetle would come after a flurry of launches scheduled for the 2020-2022 timeframe. “The following determination on electrical vehicles will probably be what sort of emotional ideas we’d like,” Diess defined.

Whereas there’s certainly powertrain developments in retailer for that far-away time, a direct carryover of the corporate’s deliberate electrical propulsion methods may put roughly 200 horsepower and gobs of  torque to the Beetle’s rear wheels. Or, if VW felt compelled, it may go dual-motor/all-wheel drive. Name that imaginative and prescient the EcoDune, if you’ll.

As Diess stated, “You are able to do derivatives effectively. Now we have a really versatile platform.”

Beetle gross sales within the U.S. final yr dropped to a low not seen because the gradual mannequin changeover in 2011, with solely 15,667 models bought. That’s lower than one-fifth the quantity seen in its greatest yr, 1999, when 83,434 Individuals took residence a reborn Love Bug.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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