Seriously, it’s time for the Beetle to be gone and stay gone, yet here we are looking at another trademark

Two years ago, we reported that the VW Beetle was going to die and would never come back. Then, come late-2018 and the Beetle’s demise became a confirmed fact. Part of that coverage indicated that the Beetle would be replaced, in part, by the I.D. Buzz E.V. and the T-Roc subcompact crossover. It was also reported that the Beetle would return as an electric four-door, but given the introduction and push of VW’s new I.D. range of vehicles, that didn’t make a lot of sense. Until now, that is, as VW has filed trademark for a number of names with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, including “e-Beetle.” Here we go again, folks.

Volkswagen Just Doesn’t Know When to Give Up On a Name

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Volkswagen has now applied to trademark not only the e-Beetle name, but e-Karmann, e-Kubel, and e-Golf Classic. This comes after previous reports that VW wanted to build an electric version of the modern Kombi and a report by Autocar in which VW Chairman, Herbert Diess, explained that an electric Beetle was possible.

”If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than [the last Beetle] model, much closer to history because it could be rear-wheel drive.”
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The modern Kombi EV aside, all of these names indicate that VW is looking to revive old names and, potentially older designs in EV form. The Karmann name, for example, refers to the old Karmann Ghia that was produced from 1955-1974 and was based on the Beetle’s platform. Karman was actually the name of the coachbuilder responsible for body construction, and Ghia was the name of the car’s designer. The e-Kubel name might sound familiar too, if you’re into VW history, as it’s a reference to the Type 181, aka, the VW Thing. Then we have “e-Golf Classic,” which could hint that VW is looking to revive the first-gen Golf’s design with a modern electric drivetrain.

If all of these models really come to life, you can bet that they will be based on the brand’s MEB “skateboard” platform that basically allows body shells to be transplanted atop a common platform. This is the same platform that Ford will be using in the future for some of its EVs as Volkswagen’s own ID.4.

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A lot of this sounds good, and I’m all for reviving old designs and nameplates. It has worked well for a number of automakers. But, the Beetle, I just can’t get on board with. Heritage aside, The VW Beetle was far from popular, garnering sales numbers of less than 20,00 per year from 2016 forward in the United States. And, as someone who’s spent a lot of time in Europe recently, I’m here to tell you that you don’t see too many of them there either. It’s not surprising considering that in 2018, for example, VW only sold 13,294 examples across all of Europe. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly a hit.

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On top of the poor sales numbers, I also have a feeling that Volkswagen isn’t going to do a lot to make the e-Beetle special. I hope I’m wrong, and I’d love to see a RWD e-Beetle rocking the old-school design, but VW has never been one for changing designs, and I can totally see the company using the last-gen model as a base. We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but it looks like the next 5-10 years could be very interesting for Volkswagen. It’s just too bad the company can’t let the Beetle rest in peace.

Source: European Union Intellectual Property Office

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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