Volkswagen to end iconic ‘Beetle’ cars in 2019

Volkswagen announced on September 13, 2018 that it would end production of its iconic "Beetle" cars in 2019 following a pair of final editions of the insect-inspired vehicles. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA)
Updated 13 September 2018

Volkswagen to end iconic ‘Beetle’ cars in 2019

NEW YORK: Volkswagen announced Thursday it would end production of its iconic "Beetle" cars in 2019 after adding a pair of final editions of the insect-inspired vehicles.
The move comes as Volkswagen emphasizes electric autos and larger family-oriented vehicles, said Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America.
But Woebcken opened the door to reviving the model at some point, alluding to the company's 2017 decision to unveil a revamped Volkswagen Bus as a possible template.
"Never say never," he said in a statement.
Volkswagen plans to offer the two final edition models in both coupe and convertible styles. The cars will include nods to earlier versions and be priced at $23,045 and up, the company said.
"The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle's many devoted fans," Woebcken said.
The sedans made their US debut in the 1950s and were popularized with the 1968 Disney movie "The Love Bug."
US sales ceased in 1979, but the vehicle continued to be produced in Mexico and Brazil, according to Car and Driver. VW revived the "New Beetle" in the US 1997.
However, the vehicle's history goes back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler.


Screen star Shahad Ballan in new anti-speeding campaign

Shahad Ballan has joined forces with Dubai Autodrome for her new campaign. (Supplied)
Updated 04 February 2020

Screen star Shahad Ballan in new anti-speeding campaign

  • Shahad Ballan’s new campaign aims to safely channel youths’ desire for speed while driving

DUBAI: Syrian TV presenter Shahad Ballan has joined forces with Dubai Autodrome, the UAE’s motorsports and entertainment complex, in a new campaign called #SpeedLegally, which aims to safely channel youths’ desire for speed while driving.

“The whole point of the campaign is to tell people it’s OK if you like to speed. At the end of the day, people like this rush and adrenaline,” Ballan told Arab News.

Ballan hopes that by teaching youngsters to only speed on race tracks, it could lower the number of crashes on the UAE’s roads. (Supplied)

“Adrenaline is a hormone in our body. We can’t ignore that … Instead of just fighting it, let us encourage youngsters who like to speed to release this energy that they have and practice their love for speed and driving in designated areas such as race tracks.”

At Dubai Autodrome, people can book sessions to race using their own cars or those available there.

“It’s all about discipline,” Ballan said. “When you’re angry or stressed or excited, you release your energy in different ways. Some people eat, some people go to the gym, some people do kickboxing. So this call to action is the same thing.”

At Dubai Autodrome, people can book sessions to race using their own cars or those available there. (Supplied)

She hopes that by teaching youngsters to only speed on race tracks, it could lower the number of crashes on the UAE’s roads.

According to figures from the Interior Ministry, 3,123 people were killed and 31,829 injured in car crashes from 2014 to 2018.

Ballan herself was inspired by a crash she was involved in four years ago. “I wasn’t the one driving in the accident. I was with a driver,” she said.

“We weren’t the cause of the accident. Another driver … was going over the speed limit on the highway.”