The Beetle is arguably the most successful model Volkswagen produced and one of the few that resonated with car buyers in North America. The original Beetle was produced in more than 21 million units between 1938 and 2003, making it the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made. Although the German carmaker tried hard, it never matched Beetle's success with its subsequent models. Intriguingly, modern interpretations of the Beetle also failed to attract enough interest.
Volkswagen launched the New Beetle in 1997 with a cute face and Golf IV technology. The updated model sold about 1.1 million units until 2011, when it was replaced by a new model. It's a respectable number, although most sales were achieved in the first five years of production. The successor, named simply "Beetle," received a lukewarm reception and proved a flop, which is why Volkswagen ended its career without offering a successor.
New management, new ideas, as they say. It appears that Volkswagen will resurrect the Beetle nameplate in electrified form. Although the German carmaker hasn't made the official announcement, it featured an electric Beetle concept in Netflix's "Miraculous: Ladybug & Cat Noir – The Movie" animation. Based on the "Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir" animation series, the movie is basically a very long Volkswagen commercial, considering the movie characters drive Volkswagen EVs.
Volkswagen redesigned its ID. electric cars to fit the movie's look and feel. The main character Cat Noir drives an ID.4, and Ladybug can be seen behind the wheel of the electric Beetle concept. The luxury ID. Vizzion will be associated with the successful stylist Gabriel Agreste, while the iconic Volkswagen ID. Buzz will be Tom's bakery delivery vehicle.
The Netflix animation movie is part of a campaign aiming to turn Volkswagen into a "love brand," whatever that means. Volkswagen launched several similar joint projects in the past months with Marvel Studios' "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania," and the Disney+ Star Wars series "Obi-Wan-Kenobi," "Andor," and "Mandalorian."
Regardless of the new Miraculous movie, the Beetle deserves a better chance than it had with the third generation. The car was arguably ruined by its clunky design after Volkswagen management wanted to make it look more aggressive. This was contrary to the Beetle spirit, which was cute by definition, and it showed. Hopefully, Volkswagen designers will respect this with the upcoming model if decided. Volkswagen MEB platform certainly makes an excellent base for an electric Beetle, just as the Golf IV's PQ34 was perfect for the New Beetle.