The iconic Volkswagen Beetle has been discontinued in Asia due to poor demand. The Beetle had a good impact initially in the Asian market, when it was launched in 2009 because of its unique styling and fan following. It was imported via the CBU (Completely Built Unit) route and hence got a hefty price tag of Rs. 20.45 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). Eventually, with the increasing competition in the segment, the Beetle struggled hard to find buyers in Asia. Fiat had introduced the Fiat 500 hatchback retailing at Rs. 14.82 lakhs in 2008 but that didn’t find buyers either.
Only 70 units of the Fiat 500 were sold and was discontinued because of obvious reasons. Similarly, BMW introduced the MINI range in Asia in 2012 that included the hatchback, convertible and Countryman crossover. The MINI offerings have received decent demand in the Asian market because of its styling, performance and youthful appeal. BMW has also started CKD assembly of the Countryman in Asia. Now that the Volkswagen Beetle has been discontinued in Asia, the new generation Beetle is also not expected to hit Asian shores anytime soon. There are no plans for the new model in Asia, at least not in the near future.
However in 2012, Volkswagen showcased the latest generation Beetle at the Auto Expo, which hinted about its likely launch in Asia soon but that never happened as Volkswagen’s focus has completely shifted to the Polo and Vento. The discontinued Beetle was powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol motor that produces 116 PS of maximum power with 172 Nm of peak torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic tiptronic transmission. Compared to its rivals, the exterior as well as interior styling of the Beetle was a bit bland in today’s day and age. The equipment level of the Beetle was also pretty basic, hence the poor demand for the hefty price tag in Asia.