Heritage

VW bids farewell to the Beetle on ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020’

The Beetle says goodbye tonight during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Beetle has been synonymous with the Volkswagen brand practically since the beginning. Despite there being other memorable models in the VW lineup over the last 70 years, the Beetle remains an icon.

Tonight, on New Year's Eve, Volkswagen is bidding a fond "auf wiedersehen" to the car with a short film, to be played during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020" on ABC. Titled "The Last Mile", the film is an animated take on a the story of a boy whose life has been influenced by the Beetle.

Beetle The Last Mile"The Last Mile" captures the emotions surrounding a life well lived with the Beetle by a man's side.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

"The Beetle is easily one of the most recognizable cars in the history of automobiles," said Saad Chehab, senior vice president, brand marketing, Volkswagen. "Honoring it properly required a medium with just as much versatility and universal appeal as the car itself. While we chose the classic Beetle as the star of the animation, additional campaign components in Times Square honor the latter two generations of cars and their place and presence in American culture. We are proud of our past but our eye is on the future – hence our choice of New Year's Eve to hint at our upcoming long-range EV and the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport."

Eagled eyed watchers will see numerous pop culture references throughout the film including cameos from Kevin Bacon's character in "Footloose", an astronaut, and artist Andy Warhol. There's a sign proclaiming that its "Not a Lemon" and a cameo from Bravo TV host Andy Cohen in the 90-second spot.

You may want to grab the tissues.

The advertisement ends with the Beetle flying into the heavens and a new vision of the next generation of Volkswagen vehicles appearing.

If you don't want to wait until it airs on TV, you can view it here.

The Last Mile | BeetleVideo courtesy of YouTube

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VW purchased the rights to the iconic Scout name and plans to make new EVs under the brand.

Volkswagen

Automakers bring back names and brands from the past all the time, but it's not every day that a major company purchases a brand name specifically for the purpose of reviving it. That's exactly what Volkswagen just did with Scout, the name of an ultra-popular off-road SUV that was built by International Harvester in the 1960s and 1970s.

As for the types of vehicles we'll see from the brand, we currently only have the renders to go on. The pickup truck and SUV both feature throwback styling that is reminiscent of the original Scout shapes. Beefy off-road tires and lifted suspension are the only other clues available in the drawings.

Volkswagen has its own EVs, and its other brands like Audi and Porsche have made significant progress with electric vehicles as well. That said, VW doesn't really have a solid off-road option from any of its brands at the moment, so the Scout purchase opens doors for the automaker in that arena.

The announcement sounds exciting, but we've still got plenty of time to wait before there's a Scout-branded EV on the roads. Volkswagen said the plan is to release vehicles by 2026, but it won't be sitting idle between now and then. The VW ID.4 is still very fresh and the automaker says it will launch a total of 25 new EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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