Volkswagen Is Killing Off the Beetle—Again

iStock
iStock

Say your last goodbye to Slug Bug. Volkswagen will no longer be making its famous Beetle cars, according to the BBC. Production will cease in July 2019.

The German car design has been around since the 1930s—when Hitler had a hand in its creation—and the basic look hasn’t changed all that much since then. In 1997, Volkswagen debuted the New Beetle, a sleeker, more modern update on the original insect-like design. The last of the classic Bugs were produced in 2003. In 2011, the company replaced the New Beetle with another design that tweaked the Bug’s look just a little more. Now, it seems even the updated Beetle is going away.

Over its decades-long run, the Beetle became one of the most recognizable cars on the road, thanks in part to Disney, hippies, and of course, Ted Bundy.

The death of the Beetle has been rumored for a while. A Volkswagen executive alluded to the car’s demise at the Geneva motor show in March 2018, but a company spokesperson later walked that statement back, saying there were no plans to kill off the car. Recently, there were also rumors that an electric Beetle could be coming, but that idea seems to be off the table for now. VW only sold 15,166 Beetles in the U.S. in 2017, The Washington Post reports.

Could the Beetle one day be revived? Maybe. In a press statement, the CEO of Volkswagen’s U.S. arm, Hinrich Woebcken, said he would “never say never” of the potential for a revival of the car down the road. So the company seems to be leaving the door open.

If you’re not ready to say goodbye to the VW Bug just yet, you’ve still got a few months to run out and buy the 2019 Beetle Final Edition, the last model that will be produced by the company. And yes, it comes in a convertible.

[h/t BBC]

5 Clues Daenerys Targaryen Will Die in the Final Season of Game of Thrones

HBO
HBO

by Mason Segall

The final season of HBO's epic Game of Thrones is hovering on the horizon like a lazy sun and, at the end of the day, fans have only one real question about how it will end: Who will sit on the Iron Throne? One of the major contenders is Daenerys of the thousand-and-one names, who not only has one of the most legitimate claims to the throne, but probably deserves it the most.

However, Game of Thrones has a habit of killing off main characters, particularly honorable ones, often in brutal and graphic ways. And unfortunately, there's already been some foreshadowing that writers will paint a target on Daenerys's back.

5. THE PROPHECIES

Carice van Houten in 'Game of Thrones'
Helen Sloan, HBO

What's a good fantasy story without a few prophecies hanging over people's heads? While the books the show is based on have a few more than usual, the main prophecy of Game of Thrones is Melisandre's rants about "the prince that was promised," basically her faith's version of a messiah.

Melisandre currently believes both Daenerys and Jon Snow somehow fulfill the prophecy, but her previous pick for the position died a grisly death, so maybe her endorsement isn't a good sign.

4. TYRION'S DEMANDS FOR A SUCCESSOR

Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke in a scene from 'Game of Thrones'
HBO

A particular scene in season seven saw Tyrion advising Daenerys to name a successor before she travels north to help Jon. She challenges him, "You want to know who sits on the Iron Throne after I'm dead. Is that it?" But that's exactly it. Tyrion is more than aware how mortal people are and wants to take precautions. He's seen enough monarchs die that he probably knows what warning signs to look for.

3. A FAMILY LEGACY

David Rintoul as the Mad King in 'Game of Thrones'
HBO

Daenerys is the daughter of the Mad King Aerys II, a paranoid pyromaniac of a monarch. More than once, Daenerys has been compared to her father, particularly in her more ruthless moments. Aerys was killed because of his insanity and arrogance. If Daenerys starts displaying more of his mental illness, she might follow in his footsteps to the grave.

2. HER DRAGONS AREN'T INVINCIBLE

Emilia Clarke in 'Game of Thrones'
HBO

The fall and subsequent resurrection of the dragon Viserion was one of the biggest surprises of season seven. Not only did it destroy one of Daenerys's trump cards, but it proved that her other two dragons were vulnerable as well. Since the three-headed dragon is the sigil of her house, this might be an omen that Daenerys is next on the chopping block.

1. THAT VISION

Emilia Clarke in 'Game of Thrones'
HBO

All the way back in season two, Daenerys received a vision in the House of the Undying of the great hall in King's Landing ransacked and covered in snow. Before she could even touch the iron throne, she was called away by her dragons and was confronted by her deceased husband and son. This is a clear indication that she might never sit the throne, something that would only happen if she were dead.

Are You in the Middle Class? This Calculator Can Tell You

iStock
iStock

In the U.S., people tend to stay tight-lipped about their finances. Many people don't even know how much money their coworkers make, much less the rest of the world. So it's probably not surprising that surveys find that a lot of Americans don't know what economic class they belong to. In fact, most people think of themselves as middle class, even if they make significantly more or less than people in the middle class.

To show Americans where they fall in the economic landscape, the Pew Research Center created a calculator that determines what economic bracket the user is in based on pre-tax income and location. The term "middle class" has a lot of connotations, like being able to afford to buy a house or a car, but this is based purely on numbers—are you in the middle range of incomes for your area? That means you make between two-thirds and double the U.S. median household income.

According to Pew, middle income in the U.S. ranges from $45,200 to $135,600, at least as of the most recent data from 2016. But the researchers also accounted for differences in cost of living, since $50,000 in Omaha is a much different financial reality than the same salary in the Bay Area. (Silicon Valley—the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area—had the highest share of upper-income households in the U.S., at 32 percent.) The calculator factors in how many people you support on that income, too.

Let's say you make $50,000 for your household of four people. If you live in Bloomington, Indiana, you're middle income. But if you live in the New York City or Los Angeles metro area on that salary, you're lower income. Similarly, if you live in San Jose and make $150,000 for your family of four, you're middle income. If you take that salary and move to Tucson, you'd be upper income. While you may not be able to hop up an economic class just by moving up the road, location does matter when it comes to how far your money goes.

Want to know where your family stands? Check it out for yourself here.

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