I am aware that I am not the only one in this room who has an emotional attachment to the VW Beetle. My mom used to ride in the back of them growing up, and my grandpa used to adore them. Since I enjoy watching the Love Bug movies, I eventually purchased a newer Beetle (front drive, regrettably), and I added graphics to make it resemble Herbie, the main character in the Love Bug movies. I had a lot of joy cruising over New Mexico’s mountain roads in my first turbocharged vehicle.
We also drove it to a Roswell enthusiast gathering, where we saw a wide variety of New Beetles. I piled a lot of bananas on the car to demonstrate that it was our Herbie had gone bananas during the event’s performance section. We purchased a bespoke license plate for the automobile with the same license plate number as Herbie in the original Love Bug movies to further authenticate the look (OFP 857, which probably stands for Our First Production, August 1957, when Disney made their first live action film).
I don’t live in California, but we were able to find a plate that matched Herbie’s plate in terms of color and included some red and green New Mexico chilies on the bottom (scroll down to see a photo). I considered adopting the name Heriberto for him.
We had a lot of fun with the vehicle, but regrettably, life intervened and forced my family to trade in Herbie too soon for a vehicle with more seats. It didn’t seem like a big problem at the moment. We thought that eventually an electric insect may emerge, allowing us to create a similar Herbie but with more torque, and we had an EV in the driveway that I could still have some fun with.
Actually, we weren’t stupid for thinking this. It didn’t take long for small murmurs and claims to start surfacing about Volkswagen. Diess once remarked that a Beetle EV would be superior to the current model and far more historically accurate if it were rear-wheel drive. And that concept was intriguing. It would be far more historically accurate and futuristic to have an electric Beetle with rear-drive rather of front-drive, as well as low-end torque that Beetles never had.
We were aware that something similar would not occur quickly. Diess and others agreed that businesses should focus initially on creating models they can sell in large quantities of. As a result, gradually, we would start to see more niche vehicles and emotional cars, which would sell in fewer volumes.
We were even more optimistic once we started seeing stuff like the ID.Buggy. Although a dune buggy is obviously not a VW Beetle, it was once built on a Volkswagen chassis, thus the name. The VW platform demonstrated its adaptability in other ways as well, sharing the same platform as vehicles like the Karmann Ghia. VW’s MEB chassis, like the original Beetle, is relatively simple to modify for other applications, such as powering boats.
This gave reason for hope that a new electric Beetle will eventually be produced.
TEASER: HERBIE TALKING ABOUT HERBIE I have to wait for a new MEB Beetle, but that doesn’t mean I have to wait patiently. I keep pestering Herbert Diess on Twitter to see if Herbie can assist in creating a new Herbie:
@Herbert_Diess (may I address you as Herbie?)
Since you are obviously aware with the term, may I ask when we will be able to purchase a MEB-based RWD electric Beetle so that I may create an electric Herbie?
Signed, an irrational Love Bug enthusiast who owns a VW. pic.twitter.com/tpjSChMmdJ
Twitter user Jennifer Sensiba has an May 28, 2021 grade.
We sold the bug for practical reasons, but we retained the license plate on our Jetta so we might keep it for our electric Beetle in the future. Until we obtain another Beetle to mount the plate on, we will preserve the current one.
So, in case it wasn’t clear, we take this seriously.
Herbie (Diess) is currently leaving Volkswagen. Now, we’re learning that the CEO who helped Volkswagen recover from the ignominy of Dieselgate and become a potentially significant player in EVs has left the organization. I don’t want to get into all the theories about why this occurred, but one of them is that Diess was the person the company needed to guide it through a difficult period and away from a negative reputation. Now that’s over, it’s time to bring back businessmen like Oliver Blume.
This therefore raises the issue of where the corporation will go.
On the one hand, they could, with new leadership, speed up the adoption of electric vehicles even further. Blume has already exhibited expressed support for taking the part of VW Group that he led (Porsche) full electric . We might reach a stage where an electric Beetle and other low-volume emotional automobiles become a reality if he supports EVs. That’d be fantastic.
However, the businessmen might have put the brakes on going electric. Making the switch from combustion to electric vehicles is difficult, as every other automaker has demonstrated. Instead of giving money to investors or putting more money up for a rainy day, it necessitates reinvesting gas-powered car profits in order to hasten the end of the industry. The incoming administration might not even make it to the point of producing an electric Beetle.
The truth likely lies somewhere in between those two extremes, which are certainly the best and worst case situations for a future Electric Beetle. The truth is that we are unable to predict what Volkswagen will look like under the new management team or whether anything will change at all.
Businesses must remember that emotional vehicles sell the milquetoast. I would advise the incoming management to remember the phrase, “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday,” from the auto industry. Low-volume enthusiast cars won’t make you rich, but they can help build brand recognition and boost sales of more practical vehicles. Corvettes boost Cavaliers sales (or whatever GMs low-end car is now). Mustangs aid in the sale of EcoSports. Thus, Beetles could aid in the sale of dull ID.4s.
However, bean counters are prone to forgetting that. Although the underperforming models don’t seem great on paper, numbers cannot convey feeling.
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