The reason VW decided to announce its demise so far ahead of time is because sales will now tick up as the clock counts down. Telling potential customers that a unique car is dying and won’t be replaced is a sure way of stoking demand. And US sales of the Mexican-built model were down to just 15,000 units last year.
The Beetle and its van sister have a huge place in California’s automotive heritage. The two vehicles were an integral part of the hippy era and Beetle ownership on the West Coast is a bit like Mini ownership for middle-aged Brits. Everyone either owned one or spent a lot of time travelling in one.
VW’s US advertising for the Beetle is now also part of America’s media legend. Selling a small, underpowered European oddity that dated from before World War II in a country that thrived on huge Detroit metal powered by huge Detroit engines required - and received - enormous originality.