I don't think they are bad looking cars, but I remember reading an article that said the New Beetle was actually based on the Jetta platform (unless I forget, maybe it was the Passat), & they decreased the interior/cargo room, to get the Beetle shape.
Volkswagen seems to make some good cars, nice looking cars, but I buy American. I can't call a car "American," if I might have to wait for a part to come from Kyoto or Wolfsberg. I won't miss Beetles any more than I miss seeing their diesel cars.
I can never get over Jeremy Clarkson calling Porsches "Beetles." He was being comical, but he's right. I just watched a 70s/80s video on youtube, where he talked about the rise of the Japanese car makers and how much trouble they have making an attractive car, without it being a 'riff' on someone else's design. (I agree with that, too.) I don't know if that's still true of the Japanese, but you can argue that lots of the car makers are still, or have had that problem --certainly Volkswagen.
The Golf was their small car, but as many/more people don't like it, as dislike the Beetle. Volkswagen seems to be happy to build their brands on riffing a really small number of original looks: Beetle/Porsche or angular (Golf/Jetta/Passat). When Ford did it, it was a sloppy mess, in my opinion.
Kind of sad. I had three Beetles when I was in high school and college. A '72, a Canadian spec. '68 that I rebuilt from salvage parts and a '73 Super Beetle. My main complaint about the new Beetles was they put the engine in the wrong end. Maybe they'll revive it again someday as an electric car. That would be cool.
Tigger, you are correct, we just didn't get those here. We could build dune buggies to die in, but not buy a new 1st gen bug. My brother in law has a new style bug, I don't care for it. Guess I'm just a GM guy.