Friday, April 10, 2015

Volkswagen Product Binge: Beetle Lives, EV Microbus possible, Phaeton may return

Rumors of the Volkswagen Beetle's demise past the current iteration have been greatly exaggerated, according to information gleaned from a roundtable discussion with VW board member Heinz Jakob Neusser during the New York Auto Show.

While reports had lumped the Beetle in with a story identifying low volume models to be axed like the European 2-door Polo, Neusser said the iconic Bug will remain in the lineup and move over to the MQB architecture underpinning the 7th generation Golf.

"It is iconic, given its historical context," Neusser said of the Beetle. "People look at it as a lifestyle car." He added that VW has long looked at trading on the iconic shape of the Microbus, but that with conventional powertrains, the short front overhang of the design was very difficult to build and certify to present and future safety standards.

However, as the company works on its EV technology, such a design keeping in line with the classic shape of the Microbus, may be possible since the electric motors and batteries can be mounted beneath the floor and the short front overhand built to absorb impacts and pass U.S. and European crash tests.